It was always going to be a long day over at the Ivory Towers; it was after all Budget Day. It all started at 10:30. The Chairman opened the procedures and made reference to Twittergate. She did tell us off, not for Twittering, but for a few of the comments that were made.
I have already apologised to her personally for any offence caused. I reiterated my apology to her in today’s Council. It was also refreshing and welcoming to hear that she would allow the continuation of this form of Social Media in Council meetings. It is for those Councillors to use it where appropriate. I am planning with the help of cross party support to make a motion at the next full council to allow Web-casting, Live feeds, film and other forms of recording to be allowed in future meetings. I will be talking to my other like-minded colleagues for support on this matter.
The main and most important issue of the day was the setting of the Budget. The Leader of the Council outlined his case for the Budget. It was followed by the other Party Group Leaders. Not all the other Group Leaders were indeed in favour of the proposed Budget and certainly made their case as to why this was a flawed budget.
Sadly, later on the old blame game entered the debate. I for one have never liked this behaviour. It seems childish and achieves little. What happened in the past happened, let’s move on and think of the future, not the past. Just before One o’clock the Chairman put to the Council as to if we should go to the vote. A vote was taken on going to a vote (I know, sounds silly). The Council voted in favour to go to the vote on the budget (It still sounds silly).
This causes some uproar from some of the Councillors who felt the debate had not gone on long enough. I have to say in the Chairman’s defence she allowed lot’s of speakers to go way, way over the 3 minutes normally allowed for a Councillor to make their case. Maybe if they kept within the rules, it might not have taken so long and allowed others to speak.
A recorded vote was taken. The Council voted in favour of accepting the 2.9% raise on the Council Tax. How did I vote? Well, I am not one normally to sit on the fence, but this time I Abstained. Why? Well, I felt that I could not vote in favour or against this because I felt that I did not have a lot of the finer details in the proposed Budget. I was also unhappy with the Fortnightly collection element. (no decision has been taken on this – yet). Part of the budget I agreed with, but there was also many items I did not. I am not in principle against the Budget, but I think it would be a dis-service just to merely vote in favour of something I don’t fully agree with (or vice-versa).
We then broke for lunch.