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  • "Angry scenes made worse by the complete lack of respect and total arrogance of Denton White who i may add is no gent but a mere gob ****! I cannot put it any more eliquent than that as there were 600+ witnesses who saw it including myself obviously. What i gained from the meeting was the people of Portland are getting made scapegoats to the accountancy system of the borough council i mean as in they set whatever budget they calculate what gets spent and what services go where. Now like most councils they have overspent our parish council sees fit to punish us for the boroughs inadequacies. I understand after listening that wpbc turn on the deaf mode and turn the other cheek and put the onus onto our town council. However why should we be made accountable for something we pay no part in but pay for ?? 12 councillors of which 1 came up with the idea but perhaps every one of them should of done the same and then all could of got put to the community for scrutiny and gauge what is best for us and then ptc would of had an overall better idea.
    But we didnt get the chance and as far as i am concerned watching and listening to at least four of them tonight made me squirm with embarrasment thinking that they represent our island!! Now it is clear tonight as i sit here that this town council leaves a lot to be desired and surely must be over hauled with Denton white being chucked off straight away this guy is sick in the swede !! Resembled a drunk shouting like a loon and needed a swift smack in the chin if im honest and if was at the front i could and would of give him an early to sleep night. Everyone knows the feelings regarding Tim Munro and that is for all to see. Rod wild bumbling along and contradicting himself and having to justify his reasons for the tesco thing which normally means a liar trying to squirm himself out of things. R Barton has done good thing s for the island and Andy Matthews doesnt seem that bad and i cannot answer for the others as i did not see or hear them!! Would of been nice if they binned the screen show and got all 12 to speak oh sorry Christopher Robin but perhaps you should of stayed with Winnie cause you do speak a lot of Pooh !! Weird man, not of Portland and dunno who voted you in but they all must of been **** !!
    February 5th then when all you present councillors should chuck out this stupid precept rise cause otherwise by Feb 6th this place is going to hang you out to dry i am afraid."
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Councillors heckled amid angry scenes at Portland council tax meeting

First published in News
Last updated

PORTLAND town councillors faced angry residents as they attempted to explain the reasoning behind their decision to hike up the council tax precept.

Around 600 people packed into All Saints Church at Easton last night for the discussion which saw councillors heckled and calls made for them to resign.

The decision to hike up the island precept by 1,000 per cent for a Band D property has caused widespread anger.

It would generate £500,000 for the town council to spend on the island and become more ‘financially independent’ in the wake of local authority cuts.

In response to concern in the community, a proposal is to be put forward at a council meeting next month urging councillors to start all over again with the budget and rescind any earlier decisions made about the precept.

At the meeting last night, Councillor Richard Denton-White told the crowd to ‘shut up’ as he was heckled while explaining that the extra money from the precept could pay for services such as the island caretaker.

But Portland Mayor Les Ames said such services were already paid for through borough council tax.

He said: “I would not agree that the Portland people should pay twice for something they should have of their own right.”

Chairing the meeting, John Ungley, a retired Queen’s Bench Master, threatened to throw people out of the meeting if they did not keep order.

Former councillor John Thorner, who has said he will go to prison rather than pay the increase, called for all the town councillors to resign.

He also presented a petition to the meeting signed by 3,000 people protesting against the precept hike.

Councillor Tim Munro said the move to increase the precept had been in response to a statement by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles that the town council precept could be capped, a decision he said South Dorset MP Richard Drax has since confirmed via email.

Coun Munro added: “If we want things to be done there has to be a payment somewhere.

“We would have liked to do this over a ten-year plan but there was an immediacy to it because that door was about to be shut.”

But borough councillor for Tophill East David Hawkins criticised the town council, saying they were suffering from ‘delusions of grandeur’.

He also said that the Munro family, who hold four seats on the town council, had acted like ‘their own political party’.

And Sandy West, who represents Underhill, said that many people simply could not afford to pay the increase.

Responding to complaints from residents, town councillors admitted there had been poor communication regarding the decision to increase the precept.

Resident Jess Nagel, a former borough mayor, said the lack of consultation had been ‘shameful.’

She told councillors: “You have alienated the whole of Portland because of what you have done.”

Coun Rod Wild said the minutes and agenda of meetings had not been published on the Portland Town Council website due to funding cuts by Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, but added that a ‘skeleton’ website is now being funded by the town council.

He added: “We do want to improve communication.”

Town councillor Andy Matthews admitted the situation ‘should have been handled better’.

He added: “It’s easy to say ‘let’s shut down the town council’ but at some point the borough and county councils will look to someone else to run services and if it is not us, then we will lose those services.”

Councillors will consider a proposal at a meeting on February 5 to start the budget process again.

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