New policy to cost South Lakeland tax payers £47,295 every year, nearly £200,000 per electoral cycle
Residents of South Lakeland will be subject to elections every year in every ward after a vote at full Council this evening (Tuesday 28th July 2015). Tim Farron’s Lib Dems proposed the changed system which not only means an election every year but includes every resident having three District Councillors.
Local Conservatives and residents reacted in horror to the news.
“This plan is expensive and unwanted” said Councillor David Williams of Bowness. “The Lib Dems are obsessed with leaflets but people are sick of it. Residents need to know that the only reason we don’t have one election every four years like everywhere else is Tim Farron’s Liberal Democrats. The second Conservatives take control of this Council we will reverse fthis decision.”
The plan will feature boundary changes to each present ward combining them into three member wards meaning each resident will have three District Councillors, this is in addition to their County Councillor and Parish Councillors.
There was an opportunity to reduce the number of Councillors, favoured by some Conservative and Labour members, but Liberal Democrats favoured keeping the present number of 51.
Windermere Councillor Ben Berry spoke of his concern: “We need a healthy democracy, but voting in District Council elections every year is ridiculous on all points. Not only will this extra £47k have to be diverted from services but residents will be subject to countless leaflets, phone calls and politicians every year.
What we will find is that Councillors won’t be found serving residents but electioneering instead. This is absolutely barmy.”
The £47,295 is calculated without consideration of inflation, minimum wage increases or population increases. The figure per electoral cycle is an extra £189,180. Residents will vote for three members in the first year and then every year after elect one of those three positions.