Tempers flare as council meet

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PERSONALITIES clashed at a Gainsborough Town Council meeting where councillors met to discuss the precept for the next year.

The precept of money required by the Town Council for 2011/2012 was announced to be £437,500.

Council Clerk Paul Leeder said that this was an increase of £13,400 from last year due to the rise in the cost of fuel, and that the precept had been kept below the rate of inflation so could be viewed as a saving.

At a meeting at Roses Sports Pavilion on Tuesday 4th January, voices were raised and chaos ensued as councillors called the precept into question and accused one another of ‘electioneering’.

Councillors Key, Clarke, Dobbie and Riddley all called a number of the figures into question, such as the cost of staffing and income from cemeteries, before the clerk assured them that all figures were an accurate estimation. Coun Dobbie argued that the precept has gone up fourfold since 2004 and that he was suspicious of the precept being lower this year.

“The only time there wasn’t an increase was before an election, and I think you are electioneering,” said Coun Dobbie.

The Mayor replied: “Then you too sir are electioneering by suggesting such a thing. The council has taken on far more since then and your argument is irrelevant.”

Councillors also approved a motion for a new Citizen’s Advice Bureau in Gainsborough, and Mayor Tim Davies put forward the idea that the Town Council work with West Lindsey District Council and Lincolnshire County Council to come up with a more effective plan to clear public footpaths and busy areas such as cemetery paths and the hills during adverse weather conditions, following criticism in the local press.