The number of candidates in Sunday’s municipal elections has soared to record levels. Alone, the number of candidate mayors rose to 112 this year, from 87 in 2011, for a ratio of almost 4 for every mayoral office. A look at the earnings of a mayor or a councillor may explain why.
In 2015, the Cypriot taxpayer paid a total €5m for salaries of mayors, the remuneration of municipal councillors, and pensions of former mayors. While τhe salaries paid to 30 mayors totalled last year €1.6m, the lion share or €2.8m represented payments went to the 374 municipal councillors. An additional amount exceeding €0.5m was paid to retired mayors, while six deputy mayors shared €76,377 in total.
While a mayor earns €54,080 a year on average, earnings vary from municipality to municipality depending on size, according to data compiled by the Auditor General’s office and analysed by the Cyprus Business Mail. Of all mayors, the mayor of Limassol gets the highest annual salary of €70,635 a year, followed by Strovolos who gets €223 less.
The mayors of other major municipalities in Cyprus, such as Nicosia, Larnaca, Paphos, are also among the top-earners, with an annual salary of €65,907, €62,565 and €68,863 respectively. The annual earnings of the mayor of Peyia edge the 60-grand mark at €59,437.
On the other hand, the Agia Napa mayorship pays an annual salary of €37,965, which is the lowest island-wide. The head of the Yeri municipality ranks second to last with €42,000, followed by his colleagues in Dromolaxia-Menou and Dali who earn €300 and €240 more a year.
Municipal councillors, on the other hand, earn only a fraction of what a mayor gets for his or her services, as their average annual earnings are €7,410. The 25 councillors in Nicosia and Strovolos are the top earners with an annual income of €9,647 and €9,331. Their colleagues in Engomi, Sotira, Tseri, Derynia, Lakatamia, Limassol, Mesa Gitonia, Yermasogia, Aglantzia and Ypsonas earn more than €8,000 a year.
Councillors in Dromolaxia-Meneou earn the least, with just €3,000 a year, followed by those in Lefkara and Peyia with €4,020 and €4,714 respectively.
In addition to the above municipalities, Cypriot taxpayers also contribute to maintaining nine more municipalities in the Turkish-occupied areas. The cost of the symbolism was €955,977 last year and included salary payments to mayors and councillors totalling €269,997 and €456,680 respectively.
The mayor of an occupied municipality earns on average €30,774 a year. The mayor of Famagusta receives €42,156 a year, which is the highest amount paid to a head of an occupied municipality, while his colleague of Karavas gets paid the least – €23,940. Councillors of occupied municipalities receive on average €4,964 a year, with those of Famagusta earning the most, with an average of €6,323 a year, compared with the €3,591 received their colleagues from Karavas (which exceed those of Dromolaxia-Meneou, a fully functioning municipality).