When I stood down as a Battle Town Councillor in 2013 I resolved to try not to intervene in the council’s business in future.
Having served as chairman of the council and town mayor for three years, I know what a difficult job the council has without having a past councillor sniping from the by-lines.
But having read the articles on pages 1 and 2 of this week’s edition I really have to protest, in the strongest terms, at the staggering 33 per cent increase in the town’s precept for 2017/18.
At first I assumed that there was a typing error and that 3.3 per cent was intended. But as I read on I realised with horror what
our representatives had agreed to.
What dream world are our councillors living in?
Are they unaware that the country is still going through a period of austerity?
Do they not realise that incomes in real terms have fallen in recent years?
Do they not know that for many living in Battle having to find a third more money for the town’s precept will mean real hardship?
Perhaps they would like to go to the town’s Food Bank and explain the council’s grandiose schemes for the town to those who need the Food Bank for some of the necessities of life.
They can tell them that the plans rely upon money being taken out of their pockets.
Many residents will, until now, have been unaware that unlike district councils (Rother) and county councils, there is at present no cap on the amount that parish and town councils can raise by way of council tax.
If parish/town councils abuse that privilege, as I suggest Battle has, they are likely to have it taken away.
I cannot imagine that all the items listed in this council extravaganza are high priority and cannot await their turn.
I will not comment in detail on all the spending plans listed.
However, I do wonder just who stands to financially benefit the most from the town’s Christmas light display or from us having a Tourist Information Office.
For that matter, has there been any research into the continuing need for a TIC in this internet age? Are TICs not an endangered species?
Finally, in my time I wore the mayoral chain of office with pride.
Yes, it is shabby. But I really do question whether the time is right to spend £5,000 on a replacement.
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