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Nitpicking Delays Megabucks Challenge

(June 28, 2016)

Warminster Independent councillors against the principle of supporting the day to day running costs of local charities and trusts in 'mega-bucks' agreements that commit the town council tax payers for years are going to strengthen their proposals.

On Monday night Independent councillors Steve Dancey and Paul Macdonald had lodged a proposal to stop spending commitments that tie the hands of the town council until the election after next.

'The Town Council instructs its officers not to enter into any service level agreement with outside bodies for any term exceeding the term of the next elected council (i.e. four years) without the consent of at least 75 percent of the current council,' was tabled for debate.

The two councillors, concerned at the precedent set by awarding yet another five-year contract to Warminster Community Radio costing the town £50,000, wanted to return to the tried and tested annual grant approach for everyone.

"I told councillors that I was quite happy to support WCR after looking at an annual request from them," said Cllr. Paul Macdonald.

"But doing it this way has been described to me as another 'mega-bucks' proposal."

"We quickly realised that although the sentiment behind what we were proposing is understood the wording left it open to too much nitpicking."

Cllr. Keith Humphries, who had asked for a recorded vote and voted in favour  of the contract at the Finance Committee, challenged the 75% of a 13 member council part of the proposal.

"We decided to withdraw it, work on it, and return it with new wording," said Cllr. Macdonald afterwards.

"We accepted the advice from the town clerk that we needed, for example, to specify what type of outside bodies we were talking about."

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