|Mick Lerry "Alternative Budget"|
As Sedgemoor District Council held it's final meeting of 2011 the Labour group made it's own New Years Resolution to present an Alternative budget for the first time in years.
Labour leader Cllr Mike Lerry (Bridgwater Victoria) said "Much of the budget we can go along with but there are key areas of difference and we have made manifesto commitments regarding Housing, Homelessness and Communities. We have to look at the level of tax raised because Sedgemoor has traditionally been a low spending Council and while we don't object to the use of balances to offset cuts there are areas of great need not being addressed." So far the Tory budget has still been presented to various committees in bits and pieces and would not be fully open for discussion until February. Cllr Lerry promised that this year Labour would continue to comment on the developing Council budget but also promised that this year Labour would submit an 'Alternative budget'.
OPPOSE TORY SELL OFF OF QUANTOCK HILLS
Also at the council meeting Labour went on the attack about two areas of cutbacks proposed by Tory Sedgemoors friends at County. Cllr Brian Smedley (Bridgwater Westover) called on the portfolio holder for Community Cllr John Swayne (North Petherton) to object to the County sell off of 2000 acres of the Quantock Hills. Cllr Swayne said he was in full agreement.
NO TO TORY CUTS TO YOUTH SERVICE
Cllr Ian Tucker (Bridgwater Dunwear) called on the Council to intervene in the County's proposed slashing of the youth budget by 70%. "The youth are our future!" said Cllr Tucker "We can't say it's nothing to do with us. I would ask the leader to consider forming a cross party committee to see what can be done to try to mitigate against the serious effects of these cutbacks".
|Ian Tucker-'The Youth are our future"|
Tory leader Duncan McGinty (East Polden) replied "I'm prepared to consider anything, but more weight is carried by those amongst us who are also county councillors".
"Are Sedgemoor Hiding something?"
Less accommodating words came from the Tory benches as Labour ward councillor for Westover Brian Smedley called on action on West Quay where traders were facing extreme hardship with little support from the District Council . Referring to a meeting which had suddenly been held secretly at a different date to the one suggested he said "Sedgemoor seems to be hiding something". This drew denials from the Leader who then read out a prepared statement (which in fact had been circulated to the press just as the meeting was starting) saying that the said meeting had agreed a course of action on West Quay with the other agencies (principally the County). Tories joined in the fray with Cllr Neville Jones (Burnham North) telling critics to "stop carping" and refering to the 1981 seafront collapse in Burnham taking 7 years to be repaired. Cllr Jane Morton (Huntspill) attempted to divert attention to Bridgwater Town Council asking "What had they done? " . Cllr Smedley pointed out that in fact it was Sedgemoor who had been the Port Authority since 1974 and this "may be the reason they're nervous."
"Tackling the key issues"
|Julian Taylor-"Community Scrutiny"|
Labour deputy leader Cllr Julian Taylor (Bridgwater Eastover) presented a report as Chair of the Community Scrutiny committee which showed his committee were tackling the key issues that Bridgwater people were demanding answers to. Already this year the Committee had passed motions recognising the Community support for a Northern By-Pass and the issue of the Post Office providing an unpopular temporary location on the former Splash site.