‘Allowances are major attraction’

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THE anonymous letter writer (‘Wrong to be on two councils’ – News Post Leader, August 4) actually hits on a very pertinent point in ‘double hatters’, when it comes to councillors seats.

One of the main reasons we have ended up with a massive single council, which people didn’t want, was, in part, due to mixed allegiances, with the people on one hand and the county allowances on the other.

I make no bones about it – the allowances at County Hall are one of the biggest attractions to maintaining the status quo – sorry the level was set by an independent committee appointed by the county council.

Regarding the transfer of services, I asked the leader of the county council at a recent area committee meeting whether the allowances would be reduced when the services are transferred to the new town and community councils.

The answer was unequivocal - ‘no’.

This is the same leader who had the opportunity three years ago to stop this farce of a single unitary council.

It is no secret I have opposed the draconian and secretive county council for over a decade, and I will campaign for at least a reduction in councillors’ allowances in the near future.

In any council the threat of mixed allegiances is a hazard when voting on the subject of increasing the precepts to continue services already paid for (double taxation).

As chairman of Seaton Valley Council, as in other councils debating these issues, I will ensure that all councillors consider their positions and declare any interest that they have in the taking over of services, but it is for the individual councillors to make these declarations.

COUN BOB WATSON