every council in the land is in the financial mire. Bexley council certainly is
and depending on your political view you will blame it on Gordon Brown,
excessive austerity under George Osborne or on Bexley council for not seeing it
coming soon enough.
They could have done what Bromley did and ease up council tax rates by small amounts each year instead of keeping their eye on the ballot box and keeping Bexley in its 24th position near the bottom of the council tax league table and deceiving people into thinking a freeze equated to low taxes.
Now they claim they have a mandate to do pretty much as they like because they won the 2014 election. An extra £1 million in 2011 (1% tax rise), £2 million in 2012 etc. would have made quite a difference although the council is now saying that without cuts council tax would have to double or go up 55% depending on who you listen to - and that all on the same evening.
So this evening Bexley council rubber stamped what has been on the cards for a long time; send four parks forward to the next stage - consultation before sale - and saving the Splash Park is given so many conditions that its fate becomes almost inevitable. In other words all the tin cans are kicked a little further down the road.
I listened to what the campaign groups were saying when they left at the end of their Agenda items and they were absolutely furious, with the main criticism being one of arrogance, condescension and in councillor Craske’s case, lying, subterfuge and cunning deception. It is difficult to disagree.
I can see the financial dilemmas staring the council in the face but the way they go about their business, Biffa Bailey, I can do what I like style, gets up everybody’s nose.
After getting their reaction first hand I popped back into the council chamber just in time to hear Will Tuckley and the top managerial staff, all 829 of them, awarded another 1% pay rise. Some £41 million in total pay. Not bad for a council that is flat broke.
The meeting went on for two and a half hours and there was lots worth reporting. Just don’t expect me to wade through the whole recording in just a day or two.