Plans to pass the Gloucestershire Parish Council Election Bill were rejected.
The Cotswold District Council plans to charge city and parish councils for the contested quadrennial elections from May 2023.
At present, the full cost of all elections is borne by the district council. This is estimated to be £ 150,000 for the main elections, plus around £ 50,000 for contested by-elections at district and / or parish level over the four years.
Read more:Residents of Cheltenham need earplugs to support the 24/7 rink snowshoeing
The cost of a stand-alone election to be charged to a parish or town council with more than 3,000 voters is estimated at £ 17,000 – parishes with less than 500 voters must pay £ 2,000
Opposition advisers oppose proposals they see as a raid in the pockets of local populations that would undermine the democratic process.
Councilor Tony Berry (Con, Kemble) called the move a “direct cash grab” from the Liberal Democrat administration.
“They keep talking about a ‘stimulus strategy’ having inherited a solid financial position, then going to spend the money on vanity projects,” he said.
“My big concern with this raid on people’s pockets is that the councils will try to avoid the democratic election process to save money – in direct contradiction to Lib Dem’s stated principle of openness and transparency.”
Tetbury Mayor Ann Pearce objected that parish councils had not had time to consider the changes and accused the district council of not following due process.
She called on the district council last night (December 6) to delay its proposals to consult parish councils.
Deputy Chief Mike Evemy (Lib Dem, Siddington and Cerney Rural) has agreed to postpone any decision on the proposals until January 10 and to consult with parish counselors in the meantime.
Get the stories that make you talk – sign up for the Daily Gloucestershire Newsletter today here.
He said all parish councils in the Cotswolds would be invited to participate in the online event.
“We want to hear and have the discussion. We want to give our context and why this document is before us, but we also want to hear suggestions and concerns from city or parish councils on how we might do things differently in the future, ”he said. .
“The Lib Dems are rebuilding the council’s finances after inheriting a £ 1million budget black hole from the Tories led by Tony Berry.
“The Conservative government has cut base funding for city council by 60% since 2010, so we need to look for other ways to raise revenue to pay for local council services after years of Conservative cuts.”
“The Cotswold District Council is the only council in Gloucestershire that does not charge town and parish councils for any of their elections.
“We are committed to discussing this proposal with them and seeing how they can cover the cost of their elections.”
We want to hear your thoughts on this story, so tune in and leave your comment below.