Clarence Valley councillors have explained some of the $80,000 in expenses claimed during 2011-12.
Clarence Valley councillors have explained some of the $80,000 in expenses claimed during 2011-12. Barry Leddicoat

What councillors said when asked about expenses they claimed

Mayor Richie Williamson

"In general terms Clarence Valley Council's expenses policy is very conservative and very financially responsible."

"And when decisions are made with regards to councillor's attendance at conferences they are always made keeping in mind these are the public's funds we are dealing with."

Cr Williamson acknowledged attending Local Government conferences in Canberra and Sydney but did not know the cost.

And he said he attended a meeting of the Country Mayor's Association in Sydney.

But Cr Williamson said he rarely claims meals.

Cr Williamson said if people in the community made submissions asking to see his expenses he would not have a problem with it.

Cr Jason Kingsley

Had made no trips as a councillor since he was elected.

Cr Kingsley also said he does not even claim his fuel allowance for driving to meetings in Maclean.

"In regards to a public register I would have no problem with that," he said.

Cr Karen Toms

Attended a local government conference in Sydney.

"But I can't tell you how much it cost because I didn't pay, it was booked by administration staff at the council," she said.

Cr Toms said she attends many meetings such as the North Coast Weed Advisory Committee which meets all over north eastern NSW, from Wee Waa to Nambucca.

And the Regional Library Committee and she said she never claimed fuel.

Cr Margaret McKenna

Cr McKenna said she had attended a library conference in Ballina and local government conference in Sydney.

But she said she went to Woolworths and bought her own groceries instead of claiming up to $34 for breakfast.

And Cr McKenna said she booked her own hotel room, near Wynyard Stn for $150 a night instead of spending the $272 she was entitled to.

"I also did not claim fuel to drive to Ballina," she said.

Cr Jeremy Challacombe

Cr Challacombe claimed no trips.

"All I've claimed is $14.99 a month for a mobile phone and a ream of paper and print cartridge," he said.

Cr Challacombe said he had no problem with register of who spent what and what they spent it on being made publicly available.

Cr Jim Simmons

Cr Simmons said he sometimes claims fuel for half of the trip to Grafton for council meetings and pays the other half himself.

"Because I am community minded."

But Cr Simmons, an accountant, said he often loses the receipts he needs to make claims.

He acknowledged attending two Flood Mitigation Association Meetings in Sydney.

But he said, on these occasions CVC only paid for his return flight as he left at 4.15am and returned home at 11pm.

On another occasion he drove to a Flood Mitigation Association Meeting at Tweed Heads, but did not claim fuel.

"The council under Richie as Mayor and the council under Ian Tiley has been pretty skimpy on what they claim," Cr Simmons said.

Cr Craig Howe

Cr Howe said he had been to no conferences, except the induction weekend all councillors expect Baker and Toms attended at Angourie Rainforest Resort.

"I never put in claims for petrol when driving to meetings, Cr Howe said.

"All I've got is one wall planner and one diary."

Cr Howe said before the most recent election he attended a Local Government Conference, in Sydney.

He said a register detailing his expenses would be fine.

"I would have no drama with that; to be honest it's not something I've thought about."

Cr Sue Hughes

Could not be contacted by time of print.



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