Mayor defends council finances

Ottery’s Mayor has hit back at claims by the former treasurer the council has been ‘racking up cash’, saying they are only being responsible with the town’s finances.

Councillor Paul Lewis, said they should start spending on projects in the town instead of saving money, saying by his calculations the council will have accumulated �100,000 in two years.

But Mayor Glyn Dobson says those figures are wrong, and defended Ottery Town Council’s finances.

He said the figures read out at last month’s town council meeting did not take into account almost �30,000 in money allocated but not yet spent.

And he added the council’s ability to save cash each year meant it did not have to ask for a rise in its precept from the district council.

But Cllr Lewis, a stockbroker who recently returned to the council after resigning last September, said: “You can call it efficient money management, you can call it what you like, but I don’t think a Town Council should be here to rack up cash.”

The Mayor agreed with the former treasurer, but said once money being held on behalf of the skatepark was paid back, and money assigned to repair the jubilee monument was spent, they would have a similar figure left over at the end of this financial year, which ends tomorrow, to the 2010-11 year.

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Cllr Lewis had suggested the idea of using their surplus to help fund new public toilets in the town.

And although Cllr Dobson agreed they should perhaps look at a capital project, he denied the council needed to spend the money, calling it ‘irresponsible’.

The Mayor added: “Cllr Lewis wasn’t aware of the money that was held, as he wasn’t a councillor when we agreed to take the money for the skatepark back.

“Since he raised the issue at the last meeting we have investigated the matter and we’re very happy with our finances.”

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