UPDATED: Mayor apologises for calling off Portland precept meeting

Dorset Echo: GATHERING: Les Ames, far left, with residents and councillors outside All Saints Church this evening GATHERING: Les Ames, far left, with residents and councillors outside All Saints Church this evening

PORTLANDERS will have to wait another week for a decision to be reached on the new town council precept after a council meeting this evening was cancelled due to the weather.

It was called off at the last minute as town clerk Ian Looker, who lives off the island, was unable to get to the meeting because of the beach road closure. But there was criticism at why the meeting, which would have been on Tophill, away from flood-hit areas, was called off so late. The cancellation came at 2pm Wednesday after huge waves and high winds battered Chesil Cove.

The meeting had been called for councillors to continue budget discussions and consider a proposal to scrap all earlier decisions on the controversial council tax precept and start again.

At a fiery public meeting last week councillors were heckled and urged to resign for defending a council tax precept increase of 1,000 per cent for a Band D property.

Portland mayor Les Ames said this evening's meeting, which was due to take place at All Saints Church at Easton at 7pm, had been rearranged for Tuesday, February 11, at the same time and location.

Speaking outside the church tonight, he added: “I cannot apologise enough for cancelling the meeting at such short notice, but town clerk Ian Looker needed to be at the meeting and he was unable to attend because of the beach road closure.

“We must not hold any meetings without a proper clerk and I wanted to be here personally tonight to apologise to anyone who still made the time to come.

“We didn’t reach everybody with the cancellation news but we truly tried our best.

“Somebody has to look after the island and I believe with a properly organised town council we can help to fill the job.”

Weymouth and Portland Borough councillor David Hawkins blasted the decision to call the meeting off and called for town councillors to stand down until re-election next May.

He said: “Other arrangements could have been made with the clerk for the precept meeting.

“The original precept rise of 1,000 per cent currently still stands and time is running out to change that.”

Richard Paisley, a former Portland mayor, said: “If the people of Portland want to have a say on the precept they need to attend the next meeting. If not they can only blame themselves for not standing up for what they believe in.

“The only way to make this situation right is for people to do something.”

Comments (20)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

3:02pm Wed 5 Feb 14

common cence says...

Is this a ploy to get the 1000% plan put through by running out of time to change it ? Watch out they cant be trusted ,
Is this a ploy to get the 1000% plan put through by running out of time to change it ? Watch out they cant be trusted , common cence

4:46pm Wed 5 Feb 14

Tillydog says...

The excuse given was that the 26K per year unqualified Town Clerk could not get here because the beach road is closed .Does he not live here? does he not have to pay the precept?
The excuse given was that the 26K per year unqualified Town Clerk could not get here because the beach road is closed .Does he not live here? does he not have to pay the precept? Tillydog

5:02pm Wed 5 Feb 14

common cence says...

Tillydog wrote:
The excuse given was that the 26K per year unqualified Town Clerk could not get here because the beach road is closed .Does he not live here? does he not have to pay the precept?
Some people just take ,
[quote][p][bold]Tillydog[/bold] wrote: The excuse given was that the 26K per year unqualified Town Clerk could not get here because the beach road is closed .Does he not live here? does he not have to pay the precept?[/p][/quote]Some people just take , common cence

6:27pm Wed 5 Feb 14

Nomalice says...

Must live in Plymouth if staff travel claims amount to £4,000.
Never did get a response to my query about that figure from the November 2013 PTC Meeting.
So many questions - So few answers.
Must live in Plymouth if staff travel claims amount to £4,000. Never did get a response to my query about that figure from the November 2013 PTC Meeting. So many questions - So few answers. Nomalice

7:02pm Wed 5 Feb 14

common cence says...

Nomalice wrote:
Must live in Plymouth if staff travel claims amount to £4,000.
Never did get a response to my query about that figure from the November 2013 PTC Meeting.
So many questions - So few answers.
Whats this £4000 staff travel money , could you please tell us , thanks,,,,,
[quote][p][bold]Nomalice[/bold] wrote: Must live in Plymouth if staff travel claims amount to £4,000. Never did get a response to my query about that figure from the November 2013 PTC Meeting. So many questions - So few answers.[/p][/quote]Whats this £4000 staff travel money , could you please tell us , thanks,,,,, common cence

7:28pm Wed 5 Feb 14

bandit_300 says...

No worries they`ll buy the town clerk a speed boat next and add it on to our council tax !
No worries they`ll buy the town clerk a speed boat next and add it on to our council tax ! bandit_300

8:05pm Wed 5 Feb 14

Nomalice says...

Sorry got the wrong month. It was a simple request for clarity of Item 2745 on the Minutes of The PTC Meeting in October 2013.
Not being AuFait with the workings, it seemed a lot to my untrained eye
Sorry got the wrong month. It was a simple request for clarity of Item 2745 on the Minutes of The PTC Meeting in October 2013. Not being AuFait with the workings, it seemed a lot to my untrained eye Nomalice

10:10pm Wed 5 Feb 14

Portland Town Clerk says...

Dear Nomalice

I believe you are referring in your comment to minute 2475 from the October Town Council minutes. If you look carefully you will see that a total of twenty-three cheques were included on the schedule of invoices. One of them was to pay my travelling expenses as Clerk, that is to say mileage incurred in the performance of my duties, plus the cost of any parking tickets (not fines!) that I have to pay. Mileage is payable at a standard rate of 45p per mile for all local government officers who are classed as "occasional users" as I am.

The cheque paid to me was for £72.80, which covered all my travel expenses between October 2012 and September 2013. Normally I have claimed and been paid by the quarter, but frankly claiming travelling expenses has not been one of my main priorities. Perhaps you think it should be. The Council's annual budget for travelling is £100 incidentally. I believe Cllr. Munro was concerned that Council was not being informed soon enough about how much was being spent on travelling, hence his motion requiring monthly claims.

It is surprising that your nom de plume is "Nomalice" since I detect a slight inference that there is something not quite right about my travel claims. If you would like to come to the Offices one day for a few minutes I should be pleased to show you the relevant records, discover your true identity and answer any other questions you might have.

Yours sincerely

Ian Looker
Town Clerk
Dear Nomalice I believe you are referring in your comment to minute 2475 from the October Town Council minutes. If you look carefully you will see that a total of twenty-three cheques were included on the schedule of invoices. One of them was to pay my travelling expenses as Clerk, that is to say mileage incurred in the performance of my duties, plus the cost of any parking tickets (not fines!) that I have to pay. Mileage is payable at a standard rate of 45p per mile for all local government officers who are classed as "occasional users" as I am. The cheque paid to me was for £72.80, which covered all my travel expenses between October 2012 and September 2013. Normally I have claimed and been paid by the quarter, but frankly claiming travelling expenses has not been one of my main priorities. Perhaps you think it should be. The Council's annual budget for travelling is £100 incidentally. I believe Cllr. Munro was concerned that Council was not being informed soon enough about how much was being spent on travelling, hence his motion requiring monthly claims. It is surprising that your nom de plume is "Nomalice" since I detect a slight inference that there is something not quite right about my travel claims. If you would like to come to the Offices one day for a few minutes I should be pleased to show you the relevant records, discover your true identity and answer any other questions you might have. Yours sincerely Ian Looker Town Clerk Portland Town Clerk

8:15am Thu 6 Feb 14

Portland G says...

common cence wrote:
Is this a ploy to get the 1000% plan put through by running out of time to change it ? Watch out they cant be trusted ,
Wouldn't put it passed them. I think that the reason for the postponement is a lame one. I work on the Granby and left at 1700 and was home on the Isle by 1725 so unless Mr Looker lives in Outer Mongolia I don't see why he couldn't be there for 1900.

I assume he is the only member that doesn't live on the Isle so it wouldn't have been a problem for any of the others to go to the meeting and then decide to adjourn. But then if as commentated it is a ruse to get the 1000% through they can blame it on the weather and try and come out of this smelling of roses. No hope. We the residents of Portland weren't born yesterday
[quote][p][bold]common cence[/bold] wrote: Is this a ploy to get the 1000% plan put through by running out of time to change it ? Watch out they cant be trusted ,[/p][/quote]Wouldn't put it passed them. I think that the reason for the postponement is a lame one. I work on the Granby and left at 1700 and was home on the Isle by 1725 so unless Mr Looker lives in Outer Mongolia I don't see why he couldn't be there for 1900. I assume he is the only member that doesn't live on the Isle so it wouldn't have been a problem for any of the others to go to the meeting and then decide to adjourn. But then if as commentated it is a ruse to get the 1000% through they can blame it on the weather and try and come out of this smelling of roses. No hope. We the residents of Portland weren't born yesterday Portland G

8:23am Thu 6 Feb 14

radiator says...

Its all very well Richard Paisley saying that people have only got there self's to blame if they dont go to the meeting, thats alright Richard but people shouldnt have been placed in this position in the first place.
Questions have got to be answered on how a bunch of ordinary people a few of which are not right in the head caqn try to impose this extra payment on the good people of Portland.I ask the question again is this lawful?ie if people refuse to pay it what can they do about it?
Its all very well Richard Paisley saying that people have only got there self's to blame if they dont go to the meeting, thats alright Richard but people shouldnt have been placed in this position in the first place. Questions have got to be answered on how a bunch of ordinary people a few of which are not right in the head caqn try to impose this extra payment on the good people of Portland.I ask the question again is this lawful?ie if people refuse to pay it what can they do about it? radiator

8:31am Thu 6 Feb 14

Portland G says...

One more thing. I don't understand why, with such an important issue, that they have to wait another week before they can have a rematch. Why can't they hold it tomorrow. Can someone explain that to me please.
One more thing. I don't understand why, with such an important issue, that they have to wait another week before they can have a rematch. Why can't they hold it tomorrow. Can someone explain that to me please. Portland G

8:33am Thu 6 Feb 14

Portland G says...

Mr Ames says:
“We must not hold any meetings without a proper clerk and I wanted to be here personally tonight to apologise to anyone who still made the time to come.

Perhaps now would be a good time to get a "proper Town Clerk" who lives on the Isle and then this wouldn't happen again
Mr Ames says: “We must not hold any meetings without a proper clerk and I wanted to be here personally tonight to apologise to anyone who still made the time to come. Perhaps now would be a good time to get a "proper Town Clerk" who lives on the Isle and then this wouldn't happen again Portland G

10:26am Thu 6 Feb 14

1Kimberlin says...

craigbastow1@outlook
.com
wrote:
breaking news : john thorner explodes counci meeting abandoned .
You must lead a very sad life if all you can do is constantly pick on someone who has probably save Portland People a lot of money. Shame you will not publish your name, or is it you have SMD and are to scared to face a Disabled Person. Man-Up or Grow up
[quote][p][bold]craigbastow1@outlook .com[/bold] wrote: breaking news : john thorner explodes counci meeting abandoned .[/p][/quote]You must lead a very sad life if all you can do is constantly pick on someone who has probably save Portland People a lot of money. Shame you will not publish your name, or is it you have SMD and are to scared to face a Disabled Person. Man-Up or Grow up 1Kimberlin

12:55pm Thu 6 Feb 14

craigbastow1@outlook.com says...

taxis all round then....
taxis all round then.... craigbastow1@outlook.com

1:39pm Thu 6 Feb 14

portland rebel says...

Portland Town Clerk wrote:
Dear Nomalice

I believe you are referring in your comment to minute 2475 from the October Town Council minutes. If you look carefully you will see that a total of twenty-three cheques were included on the schedule of invoices. One of them was to pay my travelling expenses as Clerk, that is to say mileage incurred in the performance of my duties, plus the cost of any parking tickets (not fines!) that I have to pay. Mileage is payable at a standard rate of 45p per mile for all local government officers who are classed as "occasional users" as I am.

The cheque paid to me was for £72.80, which covered all my travel expenses between October 2012 and September 2013. Normally I have claimed and been paid by the quarter, but frankly claiming travelling expenses has not been one of my main priorities. Perhaps you think it should be. The Council's annual budget for travelling is £100 incidentally. I believe Cllr. Munro was concerned that Council was not being informed soon enough about how much was being spent on travelling, hence his motion requiring monthly claims.

It is surprising that your nom de plume is "Nomalice" since I detect a slight inference that there is something not quite right about my travel claims. If you would like to come to the Offices one day for a few minutes I should be pleased to show you the relevant records, discover your true identity and answer any other questions you might have.

Yours sincerely

Ian Looker
Town Clerk
maybe that it is because the people of portland have no trust in either the ptc or w&pbc.

but of course finger on the pulse you would know this.
[quote][p][bold]Portland Town Clerk[/bold] wrote: Dear Nomalice I believe you are referring in your comment to minute 2475 from the October Town Council minutes. If you look carefully you will see that a total of twenty-three cheques were included on the schedule of invoices. One of them was to pay my travelling expenses as Clerk, that is to say mileage incurred in the performance of my duties, plus the cost of any parking tickets (not fines!) that I have to pay. Mileage is payable at a standard rate of 45p per mile for all local government officers who are classed as "occasional users" as I am. The cheque paid to me was for £72.80, which covered all my travel expenses between October 2012 and September 2013. Normally I have claimed and been paid by the quarter, but frankly claiming travelling expenses has not been one of my main priorities. Perhaps you think it should be. The Council's annual budget for travelling is £100 incidentally. I believe Cllr. Munro was concerned that Council was not being informed soon enough about how much was being spent on travelling, hence his motion requiring monthly claims. It is surprising that your nom de plume is "Nomalice" since I detect a slight inference that there is something not quite right about my travel claims. If you would like to come to the Offices one day for a few minutes I should be pleased to show you the relevant records, discover your true identity and answer any other questions you might have. Yours sincerely Ian Looker Town Clerk[/p][/quote]maybe that it is because the people of portland have no trust in either the ptc or w&pbc. but of course finger on the pulse you would know this. portland rebel

7:49pm Thu 6 Feb 14

Nomalice says...

Portland Town Clerk wrote:
Dear Nomalice

I believe you are referring in your comment to minute 2475 from the October Town Council minutes. If you look carefully you will see that a total of twenty-three cheques were included on the schedule of invoices. One of them was to pay my travelling expenses as Clerk, that is to say mileage incurred in the performance of my duties, plus the cost of any parking tickets (not fines!) that I have to pay. Mileage is payable at a standard rate of 45p per mile for all local government officers who are classed as "occasional users" as I am.

The cheque paid to me was for £72.80, which covered all my travel expenses between October 2012 and September 2013. Normally I have claimed and been paid by the quarter, but frankly claiming travelling expenses has not been one of my main priorities. Perhaps you think it should be. The Council's annual budget for travelling is £100 incidentally. I believe Cllr. Munro was concerned that Council was not being informed soon enough about how much was being spent on travelling, hence his motion requiring monthly claims.

It is surprising that your nom de plume is "Nomalice" since I detect a slight inference that there is something not quite right about my travel claims. If you would like to come to the Offices one day for a few minutes I should be pleased to show you the relevant records, discover your true identity and answer any other questions you might have.

Yours sincerely

Ian Looker
Town Clerk
Mr.Looker
Thank you for responding to my request for clarity over Item 2475 in the minutes for October2013.
As stated in my forum post, I am unfamiliar with the workings of Council affairs, and merely asked for someone to account for a sum of money, which I felt was a lot of travel expenses.
I am sorry,if in my ignorance of matters, I caused you to feel that I was inferring you were,doing anything improper. Your explanation of YOUR portion of the £4000+,I can now understand.Thank you.

Now we come to your kind invitation to drop into the Offices, to have things further explained.I regret to say, that,I will have to decline that offer.Firstly, because I feel that I have been suitably admonished,for having the temerity to ask questions. Secondly, at this point in time, my "real identity" as you put it, is irrelevant, and, frankly, none of your business.

Besides, I am far too busy trying to make ends meet, and keep enough aside, from my meagre income, to help pay your salary and travel expenses.

If nothing else positive emerges from this whole affair, I feel sure that I will not be the only tax-payer,asking questions and requiring more accountability than in the past.And that will,surely,have  made it worthwhile
[quote][p][bold]Portland Town Clerk[/bold] wrote: Dear Nomalice I believe you are referring in your comment to minute 2475 from the October Town Council minutes. If you look carefully you will see that a total of twenty-three cheques were included on the schedule of invoices. One of them was to pay my travelling expenses as Clerk, that is to say mileage incurred in the performance of my duties, plus the cost of any parking tickets (not fines!) that I have to pay. Mileage is payable at a standard rate of 45p per mile for all local government officers who are classed as "occasional users" as I am. The cheque paid to me was for £72.80, which covered all my travel expenses between October 2012 and September 2013. Normally I have claimed and been paid by the quarter, but frankly claiming travelling expenses has not been one of my main priorities. Perhaps you think it should be. The Council's annual budget for travelling is £100 incidentally. I believe Cllr. Munro was concerned that Council was not being informed soon enough about how much was being spent on travelling, hence his motion requiring monthly claims. It is surprising that your nom de plume is "Nomalice" since I detect a slight inference that there is something not quite right about my travel claims. If you would like to come to the Offices one day for a few minutes I should be pleased to show you the relevant records, discover your true identity and answer any other questions you might have. Yours sincerely Ian Looker Town Clerk[/p][/quote]Mr.Looker Thank you for responding to my request for clarity over Item 2475 in the minutes for October2013. As stated in my forum post, I am unfamiliar with the workings of Council affairs, and merely asked for someone to account for a sum of money, which I felt was a lot of travel expenses. I am sorry,if in my ignorance of matters, I caused you to feel that I was inferring you were,doing anything improper. Your explanation of YOUR portion of the £4000+,I can now understand.Thank you. Now we come to your kind invitation to drop into the Offices, to have things further explained.I regret to say, that,I will have to decline that offer.Firstly, because I feel that I have been suitably admonished,for having the temerity to ask questions. Secondly, at this point in time, my "real identity" as you put it, is irrelevant, and, frankly, none of your business. Besides, I am far too busy trying to make ends meet, and keep enough aside, from my meagre income, to help pay your salary and travel expenses. If nothing else positive emerges from this whole affair, I feel sure that I will not be the only tax-payer,asking questions and requiring more accountability than in the past.And that will,surely,have  made it worthwhile Nomalice

12:07am Fri 7 Feb 14

Pauldavid says...

I made a point of driving across the causeway between 6.20 & 6.40 pm last night, to Wyke & back, from the island. The road was dry with wet patches, perfectly safe, and open to all traffic. The Town Clerk could have got to the island at any time from 5.00pm onwards, and at any time before that with the co-operation of the police, as they were using the causeway throughout the afternoon. If he was worried about being marooned on the Island he could have brought an overnight bag. Suppose we have a bit of weather next Tuesday, will they cancel again?

I was amazed that last nights meeting was cancelled, all it did was further undermine my confidence in PTC. I can't believe that the council would be stupid enough to stall for time, so that the current proposed precept becomes a reality. If that were to happen last weeks meeting would be like a walk in the park in comparison to the wrath & vitriol to come. I think the Portland Precept would become national front page news.

The current £150 precept still stands, lets hope Mr Munro & his cronies can salvage something from this fiasco by ensuring that it is removed as soon as possible.
I made a point of driving across the causeway between 6.20 & 6.40 pm last night, to Wyke & back, from the island. The road was dry with wet patches, perfectly safe, and open to all traffic. The Town Clerk could have got to the island at any time from 5.00pm onwards, and at any time before that with the co-operation of the police, as they were using the causeway throughout the afternoon. If he was worried about being marooned on the Island he could have brought an overnight bag. Suppose we have a bit of weather next Tuesday, will they cancel again? I was amazed that last nights meeting was cancelled, all it did was further undermine my confidence in PTC. I can't believe that the council would be stupid enough to stall for time, so that the current proposed precept becomes a reality. If that were to happen last weeks meeting would be like a walk in the park in comparison to the wrath & vitriol to come. I think the Portland Precept would become national front page news. The current £150 precept still stands, lets hope Mr Munro & his cronies can salvage something from this fiasco by ensuring that it is removed as soon as possible. Pauldavid

8:24am Fri 7 Feb 14

Portland G says...

Scenario:

After the lame excuse of the cancellation of the PTC meeting on the 4/2 the discussion of the precept rise has been rescheduled for the 11/2. I wouldn't be surprised if there will another excuse(councillors ill, broken down,away on other business) that will mean another cancellation.

Bearing in mind that W&PBC have to be informed of the precept by 18/2 so that it can be put forward for the full council meeting on the 20/2 it doesn't leave much time.

Think on this. The 1000% precept rise goes through, PTC councillors hold their arms up in horror, apologize(unlikely) for the debacle and vow to reduce next year. By this time they will have their extra money, expenses will rise and Portland will not see any benefit from the additional revenue.

Those up for reelection in May will have as their main theme of compaigning the reduction the precept. This in theory will endear them to Portlanders and get reelected. However most Portlanders I know have long memories and don't forget easily

Watch this space

Of course I may be extremely synical and have got this all wrong. I hope so but I doubt it
Scenario: After the lame excuse of the cancellation of the PTC meeting on the 4/2 the discussion of the precept rise has been rescheduled for the 11/2. I wouldn't be surprised if there will another excuse(councillors ill, broken down,away on other business) that will mean another cancellation. Bearing in mind that W&PBC have to be informed of the precept by 18/2 so that it can be put forward for the full council meeting on the 20/2 it doesn't leave much time. Think on this. The 1000% precept rise goes through, PTC councillors hold their arms up in horror, apologize(unlikely) for the debacle and vow to reduce next year. By this time they will have their extra money, expenses will rise and Portland will not see any benefit from the additional revenue. Those up for reelection in May will have as their main theme of compaigning the reduction the precept. This in theory will endear them to Portlanders and get reelected. However most Portlanders I know have long memories and don't forget easily Watch this space Of course I may be extremely synical and have got this all wrong. I hope so but I doubt it Portland G

4:20pm Fri 7 Feb 14

1Kimberlin says...

craigbastow1@outlook
.com
wrote:
taxis all round then....
craigbastow1@outlook
.com wrote: A mouthy self-opinionated internet troll. Obviously a coward as he hides behind this name in many many of his posts. Probably a mummys boy who was bullied at school
[quote][p][bold]craigbastow1@outlook .com[/bold] wrote: taxis all round then....[/p][/quote]craigbastow1@outlook .com wrote: A mouthy self-opinionated internet troll. Obviously a coward as he hides behind this name in many many of his posts. Probably a mummys boy who was bullied at school 1Kimberlin

7:33pm Sun 9 Feb 14

craigbastow1@outlook.com says...

i think my name is in my name thats posted brains !! saved portland people money thats a laugh, not in taxi fares he certainly did not ...... tell crabber to hop on .
i think my name is in my name thats posted brains !! saved portland people money thats a laugh, not in taxi fares he certainly did not ...... tell crabber to hop on . craigbastow1@outlook.com

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree