7:40am Thursday 4th October 2012 in Letters
REGARDING the article on Cllr Robert Bertin’s intention to “Axe the Town Mayor” (Barry & District News, September 27). As a former town mayor and leader of Barry Town Council, I feel I need to respond.
Not wishing to give Cllr Bertin cheap publicity, I must lay before the people of Barry some pertinent facts.
Town mayor is a traditional position dating back to the formation of towns and cities. Counties had chairmen, but borough councils were another that bore the role of mayor.
On reorganisation in 1974, parish councils in England were the same as community councils in Wales, and although the towns are community councils, they still have mayors - eg in Llanwit Major, Cowbridge, Barry and Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan.
Some counties, including the Vale of Glamorgan, changed in 2004 from chairman to mayor of their own accord, although not in accord with the law of 1972 Local Government Act.
Cllr Bertin states that he wishes to save money in these economic times. Well let us do an arithmetic exercise on the cost of the proposal. The mayor or chairperson will cost the taxpayer a maximum of 29p per household per year, and the average for the mayor per household per year is 24p, for readers’ information. £500 for charity purposes would be saved, but charities would lose out.
It would cost about £4,500 to set up a referendum plus the cost of administration and school closures - so perhaps someone can show me the savings.
I was honoured to be the Mayor of Barry and endeavoured to sell the advantages of Barry to outside bodies including businesses.
I spent about £5,900 of my own savings undertaking the role - which I considered money well spent as most people in public life at community level do this for civic pride.
Part of the role of mayor is to talk to businesses, which I did, to get good deals for the people of Barry, as it is difficult to get best value for money at all times.
Theo Stenstrom Via email