Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Silence! Council coverup at work.

Same-old same-old at the RTC Finance meeting tonight. This was the meeting after the Annual Public Meeting to audit the accounts. Delayed from a fortnight ago the first attempt of Richard Nicholson as Chair was to prevent any questions at all. Even to refuse an agenda at first. Bizarrely they wanted to sign off the accounts without any questions. Then said they’d be signed off and then questions. But no copies provided. I was the only member of public there. And I left after 10 minutes leaving them talking to an empty room. And only 7 councillors out of 16 with only one apology. Finally the Town Clerk announced verbally salary costs of $90,300 for 2 full time and 1 part-time staff with an extra part-time and apprentice to be announced. Given Richard announced his salary was a lot less than $40k at the last public meeting I don’t understand how $90k costs works out. Maybe some pensions. Maybe not. It can’t be councillors costs as apparently they’ve refused to take salaries – fairly easy given almost all of them are doublehatters at TDC. It was then agreed that a separate meeting should be held for the public to question the accounts – councillor shouts of “go on call the police” (!)– easy for them to say as the Town Clerk and Richard Nicholson are now liable for the sign off. Dave as Mayor was wise to duck that one and pass the buck(s). Luckily, Richard is also the new Chair of the Airport Committee (taking over from Hayton and Harrison in the coverup) so can no doubt explain the Manston missing fines and end of KIACC scrutiny of the airport. Just delay as they cling on isn’t it. From memory last year the RTC budget was $300k – yet Ramsgate provides $17M in tax. We seem to be finding doublehatters and civil servants to provide droplets of tax back while saying there’s no money. Even most the councillors can’t be bothered with the charade any more. I've never seen more than half a dozen out of 16. And no minutes on the website or months late. Nothing to say and nothing to do but cling on. $17M tax a year from Ramsgate alone. And $300k reinvested back – with $90,300 in salaries. The accounts have been submitted to the Audit Commission and then signed off by councillors with a refusal to open the books as required and refusal to allow any scrutiny. A sham of democracy – no wonder so few of us vote. Yet we all pay tax. And use the facilities of the town. Yet it’s somehow not for is to know the costs and value provided – even with FOI. Silence! Silence! These costs are not for you! Pathetic. Don’t pay council tax. Pay it late. Pay it wrong. Pay it late again. Let the Fraud Squad and Audit Commission scrutinize the accounts. Ask for your copy. Cancel your direct debits. They’ll soon remember it’s public money. Today’s Private Eye details the $2M fraud at KCC over utility costs and 7 year jail sentence – about the same amount of money as the missing Manston fines. And RTC and TDC are covering up for Infratil at the expense of the public. Another lost year in a lost decade as they ride the decline down in a bottom 10% council. Another spurious meeting and delay and deny. And Infratil fly and pollute. Time for Change.

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