More than £1m was received in allowances and expenses by members of West Sussex County Council over the past tax year.
The highest allowance for a South Downs representative and third highest overall in the council is Henfield county councillor Lionel Barnard (Con) who received £36,609 in total, which includes a basic allowance of £11,112, plus a ‘special responsibility allowance’ of £19,638.
In addition, there is a travel and subsistence claim of £5,859, which was second highest in the council.
The highest overall was county council leader Louise Goldsmith (Con, Chichester West) who received £44,774. She is entitled to a basic allowance of £11,030 with a ‘special responsibility allowance’ of £30,744.
In addition, Ms Goldsmith claimed £2,999 in travel and subsistence.
The council releases each year a list of their members’ allowances from April to April, which is an amount they are entitled to as local representatives - it is not a salary.
A representative of West Sussex County Council (WSCC) told the County Times that as the Residents’ Services representative, Mr Barnard has one of the biggest portfolios in comparison to his colleagues.
The representative said: “Just a few of his areas of responsibility include libraries, trading standards, the fire service and the county’s waste disposal, facilities, contracts and strategies.
“All of these are county wide with bases and offices all over West Sussex which Lionel travels between on a regular basis.
“He also still retains some responsibilities from his former role as deputy leader of WSCC.
“As well as Lionel’s WSCC duties, he also sits on a number of other committees and boards representing the interests of West Sussex and its residents at a local, regional and national level.
“It’s not surprising, therefore, that his expenses for travel should be one of the highest claims, given the sheer number of meetings and events he has to attend.”
Also included on the list was Pat Arculus (Con) who represents Pulborough. She received a basic allowance of £11,112 and a travel and subsistence claim of £948, with an overall total of £14,843.
David Barling (Con), councillor for Bramber Castle, received a basic allowance of £9,963 and a travel and subsistence claim of just £70 - with an overall total to £12, 579.
A more modest payment went to councillor Philip Circus (Con), who represents Storrington. He received a basic allowance of £5,694 and a travel and subsistence claim of £132, giving him a total of £5,826.
The council representative added that there are procedures in place to protect the public purse.
The representative said: “All claims are checked by professional staff within the council who are instructed to reject any claim that does not comply with the rules.
“The expenses claimed by councillors are just that – expenses that cover the costs of them being able to represent the communities that elected them.
“The basic allowances awarded to councillors’ for their duties are set by an independent panel and are far lower than salaries, especially when you consider the number of hours many councillors spend working for their constituents.”
The county council spent an overall total of £1,229,333.
To view all the councillors’ expenses for 2013/14, visit http://bit.ly/1p4FBa5