Hike in Town Council’s precept scaled back following disquiet at public meeting

Pembrey & Burry Port Town Council have reduced the proposed 23.8 % increase in the precept to 13.5%.

Councillor Sharon Thomas had called for a 10% increase but it was not put to the vote.

A local resident who did not wish to be named said that they believed that the increase would have been allowed to go ahead if the former mayor Jeff Thomas and a former council member Les George hadn’t put out leaflets calling for it to go before a public meeting.

At the public meeting, Jeff Thomas said that he supported the Town Council’s ambitions for the town, but that the increase should be put on hold until people were better able to pay for it.

With councils across the country running up deficits, some are appealing for councils to focus on the areas that really matter to residents, such as housing, roads and schools and the elderly, rather than what they see as vanity projects such as rugby clubs, hotels and state of the art offices, which have in some cases become ‘white elephants’.

Jeff Thomas said that he was disappointed that the finance officer did not speak given that this was predominantly a financial decision. He said that the whole council needs scrutinising. Mr Thomas pointed out that the precept was now higher than that of Llanelli Town Council. He said: “I believe the council picked that high figure knowing they could go down to the final figure, which is still high for most people who are struggling. They are out of touch with the community. They need to stand back from vanity projects and get the basics right. It was a small moral victory due to the large numbers of people who turned up. They tried to divide and conquer using tables with a few councillors but that was not what we wanted. I am not sure why Cllr Theodolou was given so much control but he seems to have a lot of influence.”

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