Are you Angry yet?
March 12, 2021 9:43 PM
By Andrew Bryant
In response to a recent article on the civic dinner in the Wiltshire Times today - Cllr Andrew Bryant penned this impassioned response in the comments section which has since been deleted from the page along with a number of other comments.
What does it take for people to realise something maybe isn't quite how it's portrayed?
The mayor has privately expressed how he wishes for the money to be used and this will be made clear by him at council next week.
Civic Dinners are not a dinner for Cllrs. In fact a number of Cllrs do not go to the Civic Dinner and those that do have to pay for their meal in full. I believe the last meal was approximately £35 per head. There is no free meal for Cllrs. But that doesn't get the headlines and the cries of outrage does it?
This is yet another public rant by a Cllr who has made it his business to rail against anything that might find him a vote rather than offering constructive support for our town. Such as the multi-storey of which those nasty Lib Dems wish to dispose. Oh - wait a minute. The car park is owned by Conservative Wiltshire Council and the Lib Dems have not been allowed to see the proposals because they have been drawn up by a small section of the Conservative group at County level.
What about that costly Town Hall that's been allowed to fall into disrepair? Oh - that's Wiltshire Council owned. Quickly move on. What about the toilets? Yes, closed after a cross party vote. However, ignore the proposal that was successfully brought to council to provide top spec disabled provision in a safe location with a further aim to build a pavilion and toilet facilities to cater for sports organisations and park users. Why ignore?
Because that was brought to council by a Lib Dem and the committee was complemented by an Ind and a former Conservative who left the Conservatives because of Cllr P. And of course, let's totally ignore that EVERY SINGLE toilet facility in the county apart from Castle Combe was disposed of by Cllr P Conservative allies on Wiltshire Council. Angry yet?
How about a Town Council that has worked for decades in a non-political manner for the good of the town? Cut to a certain Cllrs' election in Jan 2020 and the council is suddenly portrayed as an unruly House of Commons! Has that really happened? When said councillor was elected leader of his group at town level four of the Conservative party left immediately as a direct result. This was not pettiness on their part (they are all very dedicated Cllrs with a deep concern for our town). The reasons have been well documented recently in The Wiltshire Times (24/01/21) - 'Alongside two other town councillors, Peter Fuller and Diana King, Mr Cavill resigned from the local Tory Group last July to sit as Independent councillors after they objected to "misleading public statements and unwarranted criticism of the council's members and officers" by the Conservative Group's leader'.
What about the much-publicised debt? In real terms the sum is a long-term investment in our County Town. Without it there would be no Civic Centre for conferences, wedding receptions, concerts, comedy et al and the Town Council would still be pouring money down the drain on rented accommodation whilst being expected to take on more and more of Wiltshire Council's duties. The latest (next year) will be the expectation to take on grass cutting. Without doing this Wilts Council has already said your grass cuts will decrease from nine per year to three! (Hence the requirement for new storage facilities.)
The Town Council inherited a Civic Hall that needed repairs and then a rebuild. But let's call that 'empire building' rather that what it really is - ensuring facilities still exist for the community rather than disposing of assets as Wilts Council has done with all of its Youth Centres (such as Court Mills which has gone to housing), Children's Centres and reductions in services such as libraries. Angry yet?
Of course the ultimate gauge is how much you actually pay your parish per year. This year the Town Council precept (Council Tax demand) for Band D in Trowbridge rose by 1.5% which equates to £2.48 this year. Your band D for Wiltshire Council rose by 4.99% (the maximum allowed without a public referendum) which equates to £96.26. As Americans would say - you do the math!
Trowbridge council tax is significantly lower than Malmesbury, than BOA. Lower than Warminster, yet still offers so much more. Remember, when comparing towns you need to look at what the Town Council is providing and what County Council provides.
How does Cllr P hide bad news for his party? He compares Trowbridge to Hilperton village which he refers to as a 'tax haven'. Angry yet?
Cllr P and his small band of devotees would like to place all the (purported) issues at the feet of the nasty, uncaring Lib Dems. You know, those unsympathetic teachers and nurses who sold their offspring at birth so they could fritter the benefits on gilt for their buildings. Except the Town Council was NOC (no overall control) until a matter of weeks ago.
Voters will vote (probably in alarming low numbers) in May and they will reap what they sow. A number of people will continue to decry local elections saying nothing changes, yet will still fail to recognise one important fact - there's a reason why nothing has changed. The party currently in power at Wiltshire Council has ALWAYS been in power at Wiltshire Council. Perhaps, just perhaps, they might change their mind if they realised Wiltshire Council controls approximately one BILLION pounds per year. Yes, you did read that correctly. Trowbridge Town Council controls near two million. Angry yet?
Of course, it's only council tax payers who will have to fund the councils. There is actually one Town Councillor who has never been billed for ANY council tax. This was the Cllr who shouted in an online public meeting 'I want my council tax back!' As I pointed out to him at the time - start paying it and then we can have that discussion. Any guesses as to the identity of that Cllr?