COUNCILLOR’S CARS

Yesterday I was asked at my Community Consultation Desk why all Councillors were given ratepayer-funded cars especially when so many live close to the hub of activity in the City.

Firstly I explained that I refused to accept a vehicle as my estimations showed that it would be cheaper for me to use my family car and claim the ATO scheduled ‘per kilometre’ allowance than to run a brand new Council car. As we only have one car this means that Issy sometimes has to use the bus to and from Bundy however the figures across this term of office confirm that I have by far the lowest mileage cost compared to my colleagues.

I am also the only Councillor required to complete a monthly logbook to account for the mileage undertaken for Council-related duties. Councillors who have opted to take a Council vehicle are exempt from keeping any records which identify the extent of Council or Private use. This has been a sore point for me since the policy was adopted as it means that there is simply no way to measure the efficiency of the policy.

In basic terms, Councillors who take a Council vehicle can pay an annual amount of $1,600 which entitles them to full private usage including fuel, maintenance, insurance, roadside assistance, etc.

Whilst I acknowledge that this can provide a saving for some Councillors who travel extensive distances across their Divisions, I’m not at all happy that there aren’t any records to confirm if this is the case for everyone. I sincerely hope that the incoming Council will address this issue at the earliest opportunity to make the process far more transparent and accountable.

This is the relevant section of the ‘Reimbursement of Expenses and Provision of Facilities for Councillors Governance Policy’:

4.2.5 Vehicles, Fuel and Parking

4.2.5.1 Council Owned Vehicle

Councillors may be provided with a Council owned vehicle for official business, with access to private use of that vehicle being subject to reimbursement to Council for expenses associated with the private use of the vehicle.

(1) The Councillor may:

• contribute $1,600.00 per annum for private use and this will be deducted automatically in equal portions, from the Councillors fortnightly salary; or

•  choose to forgo private use contribution and pay a kilometre rate for private usage in accordance with the Australian Taxation Office, cents per kilometre method calculation.

The Councillor is required to advise the Chief Executive Officer of their choice in writing.

(2) Vehicles provided will be in accordance with Council’s fleet management practices and GP-3-005 Use of Council Vehicles Governance Policy and will be purchased or leased ensuring a low carbon footprint.

All vehicles are to be approved by the Chief Executive Officer or their delegate.

(3) All fuel and maintenance costs will be paid by Council.

(4) Council will provide parking facilities for Councillors at their base office locations.  Council will provide parking facilities for all Councillors at Council buildings for the purpose of Committee and Ordinary Council meetings.

(5) Council will provide a GPS device (e.g. Navman) to each vehicle.

(6) Where a Council vehicle is provided to a Councillor, GP-3-005 Use of Council Vehicles Governance Policy is applicable to the use of the vehicle.

4.2.5.2 Mileage on Private Vehicle

A Councillor who uses their private  vehicle for official Council Business will be paid a monthly mileage allowance in accordance with the Australian Taxation Office business use of motor vehicle cents per kilometre method and kilometre rate applicable at time of travel.

A Councillor who uses their private vehicle for Council Business will undertake a monthly reconciliation of Council business mileage for the private vehicle and seek reimbursement from Council for the actual mileage amount incurred for the month.

The mileage allowance reimbursement will be paid up to a maximum of $12,614.00 (6 cylinder vehicle), $11,357.00 (4 cylinder SUV vehicle) and $10,157.00 (4 cylinder vehicle) per annum. Should the Councillor exceed the maximum amount they may elect to be supplied with a Council provided vehicle.

Council will provide a GPS device (e.g. Navman) for use by the
Councillor.

 

 

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