For once, the decision was not as cut and dried as usual, and the meeting split 6:6 – leaving the casting vote to the chairman … and cabinet member … Mike Gilbert, who startled everyone by voting for the proposal (no, not really!)
Long standing BTAC critic and English Democrat group leader Councillor Elliott Fountain, described the evening as “All in all another sad meeting and voting like sheep and helping destroy the town and making a disastrous decision. “Taking a park on with £34,000 expense and a £300 income – who would do that in the real world?
“This makes all Boston council tax payers pay an increase in council tax – only by a few pounds – but an increase is an increase in anyone’s language.
“People are going to start hating the Conservatives.”
Councillor Fountain praised the “common-sense” suggestion by Labour Councillor Paul Gleeson, who called for a report before any decision and to postpone any move until next year’s budget,
“We reviewed the report but I am afraid to say the decision was already made before the meeting started. How can a Boston parish council decide to take on a park with a £34,000 running cost and a £300 income in a 30 minute decision just because the council wants to offload it from their books?
“Myself, Independent Councillor Carol Taylor, Councillors Paul Kenny, Paul Gleeson and Paul Goodale from Labour, and Conservative Gloria Smith voted against taking Garfits park on and increasing our budget by 44%.
“The vote went to wire with six Conservatives voting in favour and Councillor Mike Gilbert having the deciding vote … and we lost.”
“The Conservatives are voting like sheep, with no personal opinion. They are all waiting to be told what to do from the hierarchy. Sad times for Boston.”
But worse was still to come.
Regular readers will remember that BTAC was railroaded into funding a £20,000 skateboard park in the St John’s recreation area, which at the time was acknowledged would be that “an investment in a council asset to be funded from BTAC funds.”
We commented at the time on the irony which followed. After allocating £500 to buy graffiti removal kits to tidy up the existing skate ramps, BTAC was recommended to spend £900 to fund a professional graffitist to put it all back again during a two day “graffiti artwork” to mark the opening of the improved facility.
Last week’s meeting heard from three youngsters who used the skate park.
Councillor Fountain told Boston Eye: “They spoke about the town being a scary place and that vandals and drug users use the skate park, and that any money spent down there was a waste because it would be smashed up again.
“I asked the young lads if the skate park should be indoors, as it is in Skegness, and of course they agreed.
A small sub committee has now been formed to investigate moving the facility to the former Fogarty Industrial Estate on Fishtoft Road
“A lot of community stuff is happening down there at moment,” said Councillor Fountain, “with a new boxing gym by Cullum Johnson and a martial arts and MMA gym.”
“It seems like it is the new community hub for Boston, and not the council who are making things happen.”
We’ll watch with interest to see what develops.
But the bottom line is that £20,000 would appear to have been wasted on the skateboard park project that will now need re-siting, as the committee takes on yet another huge responsibility.
And the big question there is: “How on earth can you spend £34,000 a year on a playing field?
According to figures presented to BTAC, grounds maintenance accounts for £25,000 of that.
According to locals, the grass is cut a few times a year, and white lines are painted to mark the pitches – tasks which apparently cost £500 a week.
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