Andover town councillors have adopted a resolution that could see up to £19,200 worth of council funds be used to pay them an allowance.

At a meeting of the council’s Policy and Resources committee on December 1, councillors passed the resolution, which would see them receive a £100 a month allowance to go towards their costs, such as printing and travel, as part of their duties.

The resolution will now be considered at a full council meeting before it is implemented.

Locum town clerk Tracy Predeth said that a version at Test Valley Borough Council sees its members issued with an expenses allowance, which is a set amount for all councillors. She added that any councillor also receives a members allowance for travel outside their town boundary.

Councillor David Coole said that would “certainly support a small remuneration.”

He said: “I personally spend many hours every day and week, including the weekends, contributing to [the town council] so I think there is merit in a not significant but a small remuneration to the town councillors”.

He claimed that offering an allowance would attract “quality members” to the town council and would help its development, saying: “We need to move forward from being a small, insular, inward looking town council and to start looking out at other residents’ needs, which means members need to get more involved with delivering projects residents want, which means more time coming from the members.”

This view was supported by Cllr Christopher Ecclestone, who claimed that a number of council resignations were “because of having alternative jobs that prohibited them from appearing here.”

The veracity of this claim is uncertain, with former councillors who have resigned since 2019 having cited “petty” and “churlish behaviour,” as well as conduct on social media, by other members of the council as their reason for departing the town council.

Cllr Rebecca Meyer, however, said that she had “lost two jobs due to being a town councillor” and was “severely out of pocket” from performing her duties.

Cllr Jo Coole also noted the expenses of being a town councillor, saying that she and her husband were “spending an awful lot of money on printing costs.”

She said: “I don’t see that anyone should be out of pocket for volunteering.”

Liberal Democrat members of the committee, however, were opposed to the idea, with Cllr Luigi Gregori branding the plans “abhorrent.”

He said: “I’m against the idea. I’m a bit concerned that it’s been raised by a lot of councillors who are already sat on Test Valley Borough Council and eating at the trough of Test Valley Borough Council, quite often not attending any of the various committees or pulling out of them.”

Cllr Meyer responded to these concerns, saying: “I spend 90 per cent of my time that I do spend on the town council and 10 per cent on the borough.”

She added: “If you paid £100 for how many hours I spend a week on this I would be getting paid £1.50 an hour for my council time, so that’s not too bad.”

Cllr Robin Hughes, also a Liberal Democrat, said that the proposals were “a lot of money to spend on ourselves.

He said: “I can’t see the people of Andover swallowing a request from this council for members to be spending £34,000 or up to that value on the past two years-worth of behaviour. It would be ridiculous to say to them: ‘We’re going to put your council tax up or we’re not going to deliver a service we already give so that we can pay ourselves an allowance.’

“I can’t even see why you’d want to consider that!”

Cllr David Coole proposed that councillors “can opt out” of receiving an allowance if they wish, and proposed the resolution that the town council “pays a basic allowance to members which members can opt out of voluntarily at a sum of £100 per calendar month subject to adoption by council.”

This was seconded by Cllr Ecclestone, and following a vote was adopted with four votes in favour, and two against, with both Liberal Democrat members voting against the resolution.

The resolution will now be sent to a full council meeting for a vote on the plans.