FLINTSHIRE Council spent £280,000 on mobile phones during the last financial year.
Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act showed council mobile phone bills totalled £241,415.68 for the 12 months to April, excluding VAT of more than £40,000.
The figure covered both airtime and phone rental charges.
Three council phones racked up bills of more than £1,000 during the period, with the highest individual phone bill recorded at £1,470.
The average number of Flintshire Council mobile phone users across the 2012/13 year was 2,146 per month.
Nothing was spent on the purchase of mobile phones themselves or for laptops or tablets during the 2012-13 financial year, the figures showed.
The figures came to light less than 24 hours after the council announced it needed to make more than £50 million of budget cuts over the next five years – £10m higher than estimated in July.
Authorities in other parts of Wales facing similar cuts have said they could result in public sector job losses and frontline services reductions, while other council bosses said council tax rises would be unavoidable.
Last week council leader Aaron Shotton described the council as “dealing with unprecedented financial pressures” and said it would need to modernise its approach.
The authority said it would be reviewing its use of mobile phones as part of its drive to trim budgets.
Reacting to the phone bill news, Buckley councillor Dennis Hutchinson described the council’s mobile phone bill as “a hell of a lot of money” and said: “It is a very, very high figure and I am surprised.
“I know phone calls have to be made but in the days of emails and so forth you wonder if we should be using mobile phones quite so much.
“It is important that mobile phone bills are scrutinised.”
Holywell councillor Gareth Roberts said: “It is an horrendous sum and very difficult to understand how it can be justified.
“Regulations should be brought in to control mobile phone usage.
“Public money is being used and I am appalled by the high figure.”
Chris Guest, Flintshire Council’s head of ICT and customer services, said: “Mobile phones are issued subject to a business case which considers criteria such as employees working away from the office on a frequent basis, those who need to be contacted outside their working hours and employees who work on their own in the community.
“The council has more than 2,000 mobile phones in use. The cost per phone on average is £100 per year.
“As part of our programme to reduce costs and achieve efficiencies we are reviewing the use of mobile phones, the criteria we use for issuing of phones and our supply contracts and associated costs.”