“Blooming” Council Tax Row
What a great Totton & Eling Town Council meeting tonight!
The Tories weren’t expecting me to make a fuss because they seemed stunned when I took issue with their proposal to increase council tax next year by 0.75%…. a real terms cut of about 2%.
Of course, they are only cutting it by so much because we have elections next May.
As always, they want to put out election leaflets which suggest that only the conservatives cut tax.
They are unlikely to mention the £400,000 war chest they have built up and stuffed in reserves.
I proposed that the council tax increase be 1.5%, still a real terms cut of about 1.5%.
I pointed out that, for several years now, there have been complaints from the public and traders at how drab the town centre is, compared to other nearby towns, with nothing in the way of floral displays (like this one in Hythe).
If my proposal was accepted, the council tax would still be reduced, they wouldn’t eat into reserves and we would have around £10,000 available for purchasing some good quality planters and irrigation systems / pay somebody to keep them watered.
A debate ensued… (rare for a Town Council meeting).
To my delight, the Tory Chair of Policy & Resources, announced that he would make some money available for some floral displays… progress after several years saying “There is nothing in the budget”.
I think my plea to fellow Councillors that we risk being the least attractive Town centre in the whole of the New Forest got some traction.
On this basis, I withdrew my proposal, the Tories will get their pre-election tax cut, but we will also now see some impressive floral displays.
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It was a most remarkable day at Hampshire County Council today. As Leader of the Liberal Democrat Opposition group, I led the charge against the proposed closure of the Orchard Close Care Home, in Hayling Island.