MAYOR Bobby Bourke has been awarded a salary increase of almost $20,000 after Bathurst Regional Council signed off on its 2020-21 budget last week.
Each councillor will also receive an extra $4000, in line with the latest fees determination published by the NSW Local Government Remuneration Tribunal.
The pay rises for Bathurst's mayor and councillors are the result of a reclassification of the council area by the remuneration tribunal.
Bathurst is one of the 24 local government areas across the state - including Orange and Dubbo - to be reclassified as a Regional Centre, rather than Rural Regional, in the tribunal's 2020 determination.
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In adopting the 2020-21 budget last week, councillors voted to again accept the maximum fees allowed by the tribunal, which will see the councillors' payments rise from $20,280 a year to $24,320 and the mayor's allowance go from $44,250 to $60,080.
The mayor receives both payments, meaning his total remuneration will be $84,400 a year, up from $64,530.
Orange City councillors this week voted to defer any pay rise pending further discussion, but Cr Bourke said he and his councillors worked hard for the Bathurst community.
"I've been on council for 17 years and it's never been about the money, but it is nice to be recognised a little bit for the work we put in," he said. "It's been a long time coming."
Cr Bourke, who was elected to his first term as mayor last September, said he had no idea when he took the role what the role paid or what "perks" came with it.
He said he was comfortable with his remuneration but believed councillors were still getting a "rough deal".
"I was a councillor for 16 years and I know how much time they put in," he said.
The mayor and councillors' pay rises could have been even greater if council had been successful in its bid to have the region upgraded even further and classified as a Regional Strategic Area.
The tribunal rejected council's case, noting that Bathurst's population of 43,618 (June 2019) was well below the accepted threshold for a Regional Strategic Area.
Maitland (population 85,166) and Shoalhaven (105,648) also failed in their bids to be reclassified as Regional Strategic Areas.
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