Given that the coalition government has decided that we have too many MPs, it seems logical to ask whether we have too many councillors. The question may be one council taxpayers will ask when they see how much they are paying for KCC's 84 elected representatives in figures for allowances and expenses published today.
How much county councillors claimed last year>>>
The overall sum claimed by county councillors in 2010-2011 was £1.85million - pretty much in line with previous years but about £42,000 more than last year.
I think many councillors work pretty hard and do a decent job for their constituents but I've often sat at meetings at County Hall - especially full council meetings - and wondered exactly why we have so many (notwithstanding the fact that Kent is a large county).
Like it or not, the facts of cabinet government mean that only a select few are involved in the important decision making stuff. If you're a backbencher, you're pretty much sidelined from the decision-making process and when it comes to scrutiny, have only a minimal amount - actually pretty negligible - of influence.
Which makes it all the more surprising that there are, despite this concentration of power within the cabinet, that there are currently 106 county council committees and forums established by KCC. That's more than one committee/board/forum per member.
List of KCC committees here
So do we get value for money and would KCC be any different if it was represented by say, 60 county councillors, rather than 84? Democracy needs strong political advocates and it is vital that there are strong checks and balances in the system but I do sometimes sense that County Hall would get along just as well with fewer politicians.
Not for the first time, I'm struck by the fact that many county councillors appear to be devoted petrol heads when it comes to going about their official business.
Despite espousing more use of public transport, many councillors prefer to let the car rather than the train - or bus - take the strain. It can be tricky getting to County Hall from some of Kent's furthest flung corners but it is not as if County Hall is miles away from a train station (you can see Maidstone East from the entrance to Sessions House).
It's worth pointing out that councillors' milage rates have recently increased from 40 pence to 45 pence a mile.