ALMOST £330,000 was paid out in salaries and expenses over the past year to the 16 councillors representing the East Kilbride area.
The figure is almost £300 lower than the previous year.
Top of the claimant list was East Kilbride South member Jim Docherty, who is chair of the council’s estates committee as well as the Labour group’s business manager. His salary and expenses before tax and national insurance came to £30,093.
This figure comprised a £24,639 salary, £2532 in travel expenses, £1146 in conference travel and costs, £125 in accomodation costs and £1651 to cover telephone and internet.
Committee chairs at the council receive higher salaries than non-chairs and the majority attend more official events and, as a result, travel further.
The second highest expenses claim in the town came from Gerry Convery, who is chair of the community committee. As well as his £24,639 salary, he claimed £2015 in expenses of which £87 was for mileage, £244 in other travel costs, £810 conference costs and £874 phone and IT costs.
Last year’s highest claimant, Anne Maggs, had just £1769 paid this year on top of her £24,639 salary.
The lowest EK claimant was Jim Wardhaugh with a salary of £16,234 and just £285 in expenses for phone and IT costs.
The 16 local members claimed a total of £21,566 in expenses for the 2010/11 year. The average was £1347.88 per councillor, compared with a South Lanarkshire-wide average of £1405.81.
Council leader Eddie McAvoy was the highest claimant with a salary figure of £37,880. He claimed £1189 for phone and IT expenses.
Councillors receive a basic pay of £16,234 while those with additional responsibilities, such as chairing committees, receive more.
Their pay has been frozen for three years and will stay at the same rate until 2014 at the earliest.
In total, the 68 members who sat on the council last year cost the taxpayer £1.33million, taking home just over £1m after tax.
Total expenses were £95,595, down from £112,095 in 2010/11.
Council leader Eddie McAvoy told the News the public had to have faith elected members would not abuse the system.
He said: “The economic system is quite clear and it has not been the workers’ fault, it has been the fault of the bankers. It is not only the council who need to make cuts but every individual, especially those on lower or middle incomes. They are facing wage freezes and big increases in charges, the rate of inflation is going up and so are food prices, so they expect councillors and, in fact, all politicians to set an example and keep expenses down.”
He added: “Expenses are down because we have cut down on the number of conferences and dinners councillors can attend. “We have tried to make sure we don’t just maintain the level of expenses but actually reduce them and given the rate of inflation these are real term cuts.”