Six Tory Councillors rubber stamp £50,000 gift to radio station(March 21, 2017)
Warminster Town Council voted narrowly to back proposals to gift £50,000 to radio station WCR over the next five years.
Six Conservative councillors backed the proposal which was opposed by four independent members - three members abstained.
The vote on Monday evening was the first opportunity for the full council to discuss the proposal and means that the hands of the councillors elected in May have now been tied on this issue.
Councillor Steve Dancey moved a motion that the matter be delayed until the new councillors are in place so that they could take the decision about how the money is spend during their tenure.
“People can judge for themselves whether or not this is a good use of public money at a time of austerity," Steve said.
“However, any right thinking person would think it proper that those elected in May take the decision about how the money should be spent in the years until 2022.
“My view is that there are better things to spend this money on.
“I also would question whether it is correct for public money to be used to support one local news media outlet to the tune of almost £200 a week for the next five years when tradition local news outlets, such as print media, are facing such huge financial challenges.
“That is very unfair.”
Another Independent councillor backed Steve in his move to delay the final sealing of the deal for just two months.
"I have always been a keen supporter of this radio station," Cllr. Paul Macdonald stood up to tell the full council meeting.
"But in terms of the support we give to community organisations and charities in this town this is an obscene amount of money.
"And not only does it tie the hands of those elected in our place for four years it ties the hands of those that then get elected the time after.
Councillor Paul Macdonald does not serve on the Finance Committee so it was his first chance to speak and vote on the largesse being shown towards WCR.