Councillors at both the shires of Manjimup and Bridgetown-Greenbushes have voted to give themselves an increased allowance while Boyup Brook councillors resisted. Local Governments across the State were given the opportunity to vote in their budget processes to adopt a Salary and Allowance Tribunal’s determination to increase elected member allowance and attendence fees by 1.5 per cent. While both the shires of Manjimup and Bridgetown-Greenbushes voted to increase payments to councillors, the increases adopted are slightly less than the full 1.5 per cent approved by SAT. Councillors at the Shire of Boyup Brook opted to refuse an increase after considering the “best interests” of its electors. Manjimup’s budget costs for elected member allowances and fees will increase by $4076 in the new financial year, with elected members opting to continue in line with council policy to pay an annual attendance fee and allowances at the midpoint of the permitted SAT Band 2 range. Manjimup’s Shire President Paul Omodei will receive an annual allowance and fee of $64,897 in 2023-24, while Deputy President Denise Jenkins will receive $30,059 — an increase of $964 and $296 respectively. All eight other Councillors will receive $19,820 each in 2023-24 — an increase of $296 per person. Manjimup Shire President Paul Omodei said Council have resisted the temptation to pay councillors at the top of the band, conscious of the budget and how much the Shire aims to achieve in the 2023-24 financial year. “We decide to be a bit more frugal and pay councillors in the middle of the band,” he said. “I think our councillors are pretty sensible when it comes to ratepayers money, particularly when they are spending money on themselves. “I think councillors realise there is a lot of people in the community doing it tough.” Bridgetown-Greenbushes’ budget costs will also increase by $1,878.50 in the new financial year, with elected members opting to continue in line with council policy to pay an annual attendance fee and allowances at 60% of the permitted SAT Band 3 range. Bridgetown- Greenbushes Shire President Jenny Mountford will receive an annual allowance and fee of $38,892 in 2023-24, while Deputy President Sean Mahoney will receive $15,985.5 — an increase of $577 and $237.25 respectively. All five other Councillors will receive $10,218 each in 2023-24 — an increase of $152 per person. Through the SAT, elected members are provided these fees and allowances to “recognise the commitment of their time and to ensure they are not out of pocket for expenses properly incurred in the fulfilment of their duties”. The SAT’s determination for a 1.5% increase was “considered appropriate given the expectation of a degree of voluntary service as an elected member, and as fees and allowances are not intended to be full time salaries”. Boyup Brook Shire President Richard Walker said it was a unanimous council decision not to proceed with any increase. If Boyup Brook had elected to increase fees by 1.5%, the 2023-24 financial year budget would have reflected a $1,299 yearly increase for allowances and fees. “Based on current economic circumstances, we don’t see a need to increase,” he said, “Members of council are prioritising getting the most out of the budget that is in the best interest of the community,” he said.