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  • "It has taken 40 years since the pudc days to get to this point where things have got worse and not better however we seem stuck in 1974 and go to bed and wake up in 1974 !! Nothing seems to have changed and still wpbc take the **** out of us and pay their top employees huge salaries to run the blessed borough council but the pure inept stance by them infuriates me. But after coming back from this meeting tonight it appears ptc have diluted themselves like a cheap squash really yellow and gives you a puketrid sweet aftertaste that makes you wanna spit ya teeth out ! So cannot for the life of me weigh up who makes me mad the most?? Them that ignores our councillors of 12 Or those who ignore their community of 13,000 + ?? 600 of them were there tonight,3000 signed a petition in a week so in 4 weeks 12,000 could have possibly could have signed that so ptc you have your answer of what to do and the numbers tell you these facts.
    However your numbers do not tell us the real facts as they are guessed by a person who is not a accountant neither a fortune teller !! We pay wpbc our council tax and we get a description of what we get for our money but dont get it and have not done for some time.
    So what gives us the guarantee that ptc wont do the same?? Simple in life there aint no guarantees !! So Denton White do yourself a favour do some of ya gobbing off to the other councillors and say NO LETS FORGET IT AND SHUT IT !! Hey Wayne Slob !!"
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Councillors heckled amid angry scenes at Portland council tax meeting

Councillors heckled amid angry scenes at Portland council tax meeting

PACKED OUT: People crowded into All Saints Church for the meeting Picture: GRAHAM HUNT

CALL TO ORDER: Chairman John Ungley makes a point Picture: GRAHAM HUNT

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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