Tonight the Tories and Cllr Burton, voted to increase the council tax for the Rochford District by 2.98%. The debate was lively and comical at times, with Cllr Ward giving members a good chuckle by incorrectly addressing the chair of the council (all good humoured). However, the subject of tonight’s debate is a serious one as it concerns money and all the more serious at it concerns YOUR money.
The Conservatives has put forward a budget that relied on a 2.98% increase in Council tax, mooted as a ‘modest increase’ by Cllr Cutmore, however they failed to highlight was that £100,000 is destined for the reserves, so essentially you could say they are raiding residents piggy banks to fill their own! Greedy little piggies especially when you know they’ve already got £4.5m snaffled away!!
The opposition members led the debate (as Tory members often have little or nothing to say) with Cllr John Mason leading with the reasons why this budget wasn’t one which his group, could support. He reminded the Conservatives that it is their national party that have withdrawn the funding to local councils making it difficult to close the budget deficit and forcing cuts in services.
Cllr Hookway, reiterated the points that Cllr John Mason made and brought forward the reality is not every household would find an increase easy to absorb in their household budgets.
Our Lib Dem member, Cllr Newport took a view that this budget couldn’t be supported for the following reasons
- An increase in Council Tax was ‘excessive’ given the 2.98% wasn’t required to close the gap
- Poor management of projects was being propped up by money in reserves – ICT project had had another £260k+ pumped into it due to ‘oversights’ in the project plan
- Future projects need to be delivered on time and within budgets
- Residents shouldn’t be made to pay for this poor performance by the council
- Residents own budgets are being stretched
Whatever the reasons put forward by the opposition, the Tory members (and Cllr Burton) were determined to get their hands on more of residents hard earned money. They out voted the opposition and are ready to wring you dry!