Dutch minister wants to bring back mayoral residence

17th April 2009, Comments 0 comments

Reintroducing the traditional mayoral residence could avoid future accommodation expenses problems for Dutch mayors, says Interior Minister Guusje ter Horst.

THE HAGUE – Interior Minister Guusje ter Horst is calling for a reintroduction of the traditional mayoral residence following the recent row over accommodation expenses paid to Den Helder and Utrecht mayors.

In an interview with TV current affairs chat show Pauw & Witteman, the minister said mayoral residences should be reintroduced to avoid double accommodation expenses for mayors.

The Dutch law stipulates that mayors must reside in the local authority area they serve.

Presently, at least 37 mayors have double accommodation costs because they were unable to sell their old houses.

Many local councils have abolished the practice of the traditional mayoral residence to save costs since most mayors prefer to buy their own homes to avoid paying 10 percent of their gross income on the accommodation perk.

The issue of accommodation expenses for mayors came under the spotlight following Utrecht mayor’s successful attempt to stop an article on him claiming accommodation expenses from being printed in a local freesheet.

The article had an expert commenting on high accommodation costs of Mayor Aleid Wolfsen.

Wolfsen has since apologised to the city council for his part in preventing the publication of the article. He admitted he should not have interfered with the publication of the piece and said press freedom was one of the core values of democracy.

Another mayor who ran into accommodation issues was former mayor of Den Helder, Stefan Hulman, who was unable to sell his original home in Rotterdam where he had held a local government position.

Hulman resigned as part of a settlement with the local council who agreed to buy his house in Den Helder.

Radio Netherlands / Expatica

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