The Mackenzie District Council does not intend to spend $10,000 on communications, says deputy mayor Graham Smith, even though a motion to last week's council meeting makes it possible.
Cr Smith was concerned a Timaru Herald report of the meeting could be interpreted by ratepayers as an intention to spend that amount, when he felt that was not the case.
"The chief executive brought us a paper asking to establish a corporate communications budget of $10,000, which was to be funded from our works and services reserves balance. This was not accepted by council.
"I moved that any funding for communications assistance, depending on circumstances that may arise for the mayor, be funded from our governance budget at no extra cost to the ratepayer. These funds would normally be used for training and travel of elected members.
"We have not agreed to spend $10,000 to ‘get our message across', but if there is to be a spend it would be at the discretion of our principal spokesperson, mayor Claire Barlow. It would not be in the council's best interest to refuse our mayor the ability to seek professional assistance in dealing with the public and media."
Cr Smith said the wording of the motion could have been better. Mrs Barlow herself mentioned the figure of $10,000 during the meeting, and it was possible she could spend that amount.
"But I don't believe that will happen, as the budget has only $15,000 in it. It would leave little money for important training and travel."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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