THE Mayor of Wrexham has cost more than £400,000 in the last three years.
According to figures obtained from Wrexham Council under the Freedom of Information Act, the budget for the civic office totals £410,901 for the 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14 financial years.
This financial year the mayor’s office budget is £138,367 – up from £135,878 last year.
A breakdown of this year’s costs shows £1,149 is being spent on flowers and stationery, while the cost of running the mayor’s chauffeur-driven car which he uses to attend official visits stands at £9,405, which includes lease costs, fuel and maintenance.
The total civic salary attracted by both the mayor and deputy mayor comes to £21,375 and £16,625 respectively, according to the Wrexham Council website.
More than £96,000 is budgeted for staffing to cover the salary costs of a manager, administration support and a Mayoral attendant and the allowance for the Mayor and Deputy Mayor, as well as the cost of function and room hire, comes to £20,211.
The figures were revealed after Cllr Keith Gregory, who represents Smithfield ward on Wrexham Council and is also a Caia Park community councillor, said he thought scrapping the role of Mayor could save the cash-strapped authority money.
A row has since erupted between Cllr Gregory and Wrexham Council leader, Cllr Neil Rogers, over the role of the Mayor.
Cllr Gregory has described the figures as “shocking”.
“I don’t think I’ve had the full picture yet, but it’s a hell of a lot of money,” he said.
“At the end of the day I don’t necessarily want to get rid of the Mayor, but it’s to do with all the other things associated with the Mayor.
“All councils have to have a chairman, but they don’t have to have the car and all the other money wasted on stuff.
“It upsets me and it upsets other people when you see all these people coming into town working on minimum wage and you see all this money being squandered.
“The people of Wrexham want to be heard and listened to.”
Cllr Rogers hit back by defending the role, describing the mayor as “the face of the authority” during public events.
He said: “Since 1857 Wrexham has had a Mayor who is the civic head of the county borough and has no political role.
“The people of Wrexham have always welcomed and embraced the role of the mayor and his office which has raised many tens of thousands of pounds for charities across the borough.
“In fact the last six mayors have raised £86,569 for various local charities.
“The mayor is also expected to attend anywhere between 500-600 engagements a year.
“A lot of the good day-to-day work the mayor undertakes in our local community goes unrecognised.
“The Mayor can make somebody’s day by visiting them to celebrate their 100th birthday or by handing out awards at a local sporting club’s awards ceremony.”
He added: “As I have stated in the past, I would welcome a debate in the council chamber which will give all members a chance to participate. No motion has been submitted to council to move this forward.”
Cllr Gregory said he was still waiting for other costs, including the amount spent on the Mayoral chains and whether a clothing allowance exists before he decides how to take the debate forward.
An email from the council’s head of corporate and customer services Trevor Coxon confirms he has so far been supplied with basic information and that he will receive a full formal response on Mayoral costs at a later date.