Cost of St Albans' mayors revealed

First published in News
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St Albans & Harpenden Review: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

St Albans' mayors are costing the city’s taxpayers vastly differing amounts each year, according to figures obtained by the St Albans & Harpenden Review.

Figures released by St Albans District Council showed that in the last three years one mayoral term cost more than twice the previous, and considerably more than the next.

Between 2010 and 2011 the district council spent £31,095.36 on its mayoralty, then the next year spending doubled to £66,482.56 in 2011 and 2012.

Then between 2012 and 2013 the district council spent £40,208.56 on the role, which includes mayoral office and expenses.

The figures showed the council spent a total of £137,786.48 on the role over last three years. This included spending clothing, transport, printing and stationery, and civic wreathes.

The Civic Carol Concert, Mayors Ball, Mayors Pride Award, Civic Remembrance Service, Civic Expenses General and mayor and deputy mayors’ allowances also came under the office expenses.

Figures also reveal a decline in spending on town-twinning events over the three years. Between 2010 and 2011, more than £6,000 was spent on the scheme, which twins the city with other towns abroad.

The district council then spent £1,435 on town-twinning events between 2012 and 2013.

Mike Lovelady, head of legal, democratic and regulatory services at the council said the mayor and deputy are "valuable ceremonial and civic roles, representing the Council, the cathedral City of St Albans and the wider District at events locally and nationally."

He said: "Over the last three years, mayors and deputy mayors have attended more than 400 events a year on average. Every effort is made to accommodate the many requests received to attend events.

"In recent years, the council has reviewed mayoral expenditure and we have reduced the amount spent overall, in particular on transport.

"The current mayor, who came into office on May 23, 2013, has so far attended 432 engagements and has used a hired Mayoral Car for only 30 of these, for reasons of security, the prestigious nature of the event or logistics.

"A wide range of expenses is required to support the mayor and deputy mayor in their roles, including transport, a clothing allowance for the macebearer, civic regalia insurance, a contribution to the English Historic Towns Forum, civic wreaths, presentational gifts, engraving costs and allowances for the mayor and deputy mayor to be used for costs relating to mayoral activities, such as charitable donations and presentations.

"The expenses also cover other costs associated with mayoral events such as the Mayor’s Carol Concert, the annual Remembrance Service, the Mayor’s Ball, the Mayor’s Pride Awards as well as town-twinning. These events play an important role in the civic life of the district.

For example, the Mayor’s Pride Awards acknowledges local people and groups that have made a significant contribution to the community."

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