One thing that was evidently noticeable from Thursday night's budget debate were the poor contributions from some members of the Independent Party.
First up was Party leader Cllr Martin Terry who confirmed at the last Economic & Environmental Scrutiny meeting that after 9 years on the council he still didn't understand council finances but unfortunately took 20 minutes on the night to reiterate it. It does make you wonder if the taxpayers feel that they get value for the £7,000 that they invest in him each year for being their leader.
Next up was Cllr Woodley, who was still like a bear with a sore head, after I revealed on this blog earlier in the week that it was him and his colleagues who were the one's who had proposed charging for parking in the car park behind the Camelia Hotel.
In a budget in excess of £450 Million where difficult choices have had to be made to save £11 Million, Ron focused all his energies on trying to deny this and his other proposal of charging for parking at Southchurch Park East car park. Ron subsequently agreed the budget at the end of the debate which included both of his proposals. As the leader Cllr Nigel Holdcroft explained in his blog Ron should accept the credit when credit is due.
Cllr Woodley was successful though in uniting the chamber, albeit in sniggering at him, when he was scrambling to find some papers he slammed down on a table behind him earlier in his rant.
It was then the turn of Cllr 'Comrade' Chalk who was unhappy about the increase in the cost of meals on wheels and would give consideration to alternatives. Unfortunately, Cllr Chalk seemed to be unaware that she had already had 6 weeks to come up with something and that the budget needed to be agreed on the night.
Members in the chamber haven't heard much of her dulcet tones since her election last May as she is, by her own admission, 'still learning the ropes' and would appear to require further training following her contribution.
With the level of debate from some members of the Independent Party lower than at closing time in a pub, it is such a shame that so few members of the public attend Full Council meetings. Maybe the time has come to consider live streaming of Full Council meetings over the internet.