A key Liberal Democrat Councillor in Poole has said Council Leader Elaine Atkinson may be forced out of her role after her failure to increase council tax.
Councillor Philip Eades, Liberal Democrat, Borough of Poole, said: “Now she really has two options. She either does resign, or she carries on and lives with the budget that she doesn’t agree with. I think she’s in a very awkward place and really she has to look to her own conscience.”
“She’s almost staked her reputation on that the council should have increased council tax. The majority of the Councillors didn’t agree with her.”[one_half][/one_half] [one_half_last]The original budget proposed to increase council tax by 1.95%, but was voted against in a council meeting last week. Council tax will now be frozen at £1209.60 for a Band D property, but an increase in police and fire precepts means a payment of £1458.45 in total for council tax next year.
Leader of the Council, Elaine Atkinson, said: “While households across Poole will no doubt be pleased that the council has frozen council tax, this decision places us in a difficult financial position.”[/one_half_last]
“We were already looking at savings of £13m over the next two years and last night’s decision increases that to almost £17m straight away. It is vital that Members work together to implement this budget and I will be meeting with opposition Leaders in the coming days to discuss the best way forward.”
The Conservative announced she had no plans to step down following the decision.
Councillor Mike Brook, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Borough of Poole, said: “Although we are pleased that council tax will be frozen, we still have a difficult task ahead of us to find savings and continue to deliver high quality services.”
“The priority for Members across the council must be to ensure we have a stable administration going forward and it is essential that all parties now work together in the best interests of our residents.”
Councillor Atkinson was first elected as a Councillor in 1995 and has served in most areas of the council. She was elected as Council Leader in October 2010 following the sudden death of former leader Brian Leverett.
Main image from Borough of Poole Facebook.