EDITOR – I have been watching the progress of the recently-changed town council over the last seven months and have been quite often surprised at the obvious factions that developed early on and the changes that have progressed to an obvious culmination at the extraordinary meeting on January 9.
First, a little background. The town council has to submit its budgeted precept proposal to East Lindsey District Council by the end of December in order for it to be included within the council tax demands for the following year.
At the full council meeting there were two budgetary proposals put forward that, in effect, would have caused a substantial rise in the town council’s precept (currently about £31 per year for a band D house).
During the heated debate councillors failed to reach a consensus and it became quite obvious that some political infighting had gone on. From the public gallery it was very apparent that a substantial change had occurred in the former factions’ members.
Clearly the council had to resolve the precept issue at its first opportunity and therefore the extraordinary meeting was called by the mayor.
At the extraordinary meeting a new proposal was put forward to merge some existing budget items and create a new budget item from them as a more general item. This allows the council to investigate greater possibilities rather than be confined to the budget item as stated. The major advantage of this is a much smaller rise in the precept of about £2 per year per band D house. This changed budget was adopted by the council and its at this point that things got interesting.
A proposal was asked for to suspend standing orders. This was accepted by the mayor. The significance of this is that it allows a motion to be tabled that is NOT on the agenda and would normally have to go through to an appropriate committee or full council as an agenda item. As it was not an agenda item, quite a few councillors were caught unprepared for the proposal.
The proposal was to dissolve the administration committee and set up a Task and Finish group to investigate the role of the administration committee and its responsibilities. Several members of the administration committee expressed their views on its failure to reach a consensus prioir to the budget going to full council.
After some debate, both for and against the proposal, a vote was taken, the motion was carried, and the administration committee has been dissolved. This is a tremendous step to getting the council back on a path to keep its Quality Status and shows members are willing to take hard decisions in order to ensure the people of the town get the best performance from their councillors.
I now think that the political infighting will take a back seat and the councillors will now get on with the job of ensuring that the voices of the public are listened to and their wishes considered while giving the best value to the public that they can.
Fitzwilliam Street, Mablethorpe