The leading opposition group at Moray Council are calling for a reduction in councillors serving the region from 26 to 24.
Moray’s SNP group say that using the forthcoming boundary changes to make the reduction would save the local authority over £32,000 – and ‘level the playing field’ with each of the eight wards having the same representation.
The issue has risen again this week with the local authority launching a period of public consultation over Scottish Government boundary review plans. Earlier this year Councillors were evenly split on the issue when the Council Leader, Allan Wright, proposed no changes be made.
At that time Councillor Wrights motion was passed on the casting vote of the Convenor – but main opposition group leader, Councillor Pearl Paul, insists that the time has come for Moray to change existing boundaries and reduce the number of councillors.
Cllr Paul said: “There is a wider need for a review of local democracy and work is being done on that elsewhere but in terms of The Moray Council as it stands the SNP believes it would be better if 8 wards in Moray had the same number of councillors in each one.
“Reducing the councillor numbers from 26 to 24 would achieve this and would save over £32,000 in salary costs alone. Adding in employers’ national insurance, pension costs and other training and expenses it could save the council upwards of £50,000.
“It is simply odd having a mix of wards of three and four councillors and moving to three councillors in each ward is logical to me.”
If the SNP proposals succeed it would mean the Heldon & Laich ward, in which Councillor Wright serves, being reduced from four to three representatives.