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Councillor quits over council tax row
A COUNCILLOR has quit Portland Town Council amid a revolt over the 1,000 per cent precept proposal.
Rachel Barton is walking away from local politics ‘disillusioned’ and believes her fellow councillors should also stand down. Her resignation will prompt a by-election and nominations are being sought for candidates.
A move to increase the council tax precept by 1,000 per cent was scrapped this month following a backlash. Councillors instead agreed a rise of 1.99 per cent.
Mrs Barton said people became too ‘wrapped up’ in the 1,000 per cent figure and lost focus of what was trying to be achieved, to generate more money for the island.
She was behind a proposal to increase it by just over 40 per cent – but it was shot down by an angry crowd at a council meeting.
Mrs Barton said she could not see how the island could move forward and suggested all councillors resign so others can have a go.
She said: “I was very disappointed with people’s behaviour – some councillors and member of the public – at the council meetings.
“I joined the council to improve things and see the council be more proactive. It was me who pushed for the island caretaker.
“From the meetings it became very apparent that people didn’t want to make things better. I didn’t agree with 1,000 per cent but I thought there should be an increase.
“If this had been done correctly people would have understood the emphasis behind the ideas. People became too wrapped up in 1,000 per cent and failed to see the bigger picture. It became a bit of a war.
“From the attitude of the majority of people and the light this council has been seen in this whole sorry affair I feel that everyone should resign.”
Community worker Mrs Barton, who was co-opted onto the council in October 2012, added: “I’m proud to live here and I want to make things better.
“I’m not cut out to be a politician. I’m disillusioned with it.
“I will carry on doing what I can for Portland, but I don’t think my skin is thick enough to be a councillor. The whole thing has left a bitter taste.”
• How to stand for election to authority
They must be returned by March 14.
Polling day will be on May 22, the same date as Weymouth and Portland Borough Council and European Parliament elections.
Elections for the rest of Portland Town Council will take place according to schedule in May 2015.
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