2 June 2009

Everyone was on their best behaviour.........

Dateline: 26th May 2009
Location: The Tin Dunny
Event: Somerton Town Council Meeting

07:32 and the meeting kicked off with Apologies from Cllrs Medley, Morgan and County Cllr Clark and moved straight into the 'Main Event' - the election of the Chair and Vice-Chair. The Town Clerk asked for nominations and Paddy 'sidekick' Keenan presented himself as a candidate. Cllrs Beale and Webber fell over themselves to nominate Paddy, clearly overawed by his debonaire charm and matinee idol good looks. Also seeking the position was Cllr Martin Smith so ballot papers were handed out and the Clerk informed the meeting of a sealed vote which had been received from Cllr Morgan who obviously has a crystal ball and knew in advance who would be nominated. Voting got underway and after a careful count, Paddy was confirmed to the Chair for another year, by 7 votes to 6, with much swooning from Cllrs Webber and Beale. It is also worth noting at this point that Cllr Beale was clearly awake and participating, something that MuckandBrass has not seen too often lately.

07:37 and the Clerk asked for nominations for Vice-Chair and, once again, the Ugly Sisters raced to nominate the slightly less charming and less debonaire Tony Canvin. There were no other nominations and a vote was requested which resulted in Tony being confirmed in his Vice position for another year.

07:43 and the meeting then moved on to the Election of Committees where Cllr Ian Neale, again showing signs of moving forward with the times, proposed the setting up of a Finance Committee. I don't know if the Town Clerk understood the irony in his response when he said, "...........the item isn't on the agenda." I seem to remember that the naming of the Tin Dunny wasn't on the Agenda but it was, of course, discussed, so why not discuss the establishment of a Finance Committee?

07:45 and Mr Porch was lavish in his congratulations to the Council and specifically Tony Canvin for providing such a fine hall. Paddy jumped in to inform the meeting that, "it is not the intention to use the hall as a meeting room.".

07:49 and Barry Markham raised the issue of there being no Agenda or Minutes published in advance and the Town Clerk was gracious enough to apologise. MuckandBrass is advised that Agendas should be published 6 days in advance of meetings.

07:53 and Cllr Ian Neale proposed that the hall be used for a fund-raising line dance event. Cllr Bisgrove added some background explanation, at which point Cllr Canvin (our pillar of democracy) intoned that, "Its already been agreed." whereupon the Town Clerk chipped in, "Informally." Obviously if you want something done around Somerton Town Council you need to have an 'informal' chat with our Tony.

07:56 and Mr Porch was at it again, asking if there was a management committee for the Dunny. The Town Clerk confirmed that there was and the membership was Cllrs Smith, Harrison, Bisgrove, Webber and Beale with 4 un-named members of the public. At this point Paddy asked if Mr Porch would like to volunteer whereupon Cllr Neale (I'm beginning to like this guy) suggested that the Management Committee needed younger members. Cllr Canvin, someone to whom subtlety is only a rumour, barked, "Ian, you need to start living in the real world.". Cllr Canvin failed to elaborate on this interjection so MuckandBrass was left wondering what the Cllr meant.

08:00 and Declarations of Interest came around with the Town Council declaring a corporate interest in something and this led to Item 8 which was Minutes of the Previous Meeting where Cllr Neale raised a query about Item 4725. This led to a weird exchange where Paddy looked like he was needling Cllrs Neale and Rees over the conditions of the women's loos on the sportsfield. He seemed to be getting shirty about sub-standard work and was asking who did the remedial work and who signed the ticket (These are questions that MuckandBrass would like to ask about the Dunny and Etsome Terrace.) but before the matter could go any further the Town Clerk requested that the Meeting go back to the Minutes. Bravo!

08:05 and Matters Arising dealt with little progress on the Lease for the Wessex Youth Club, Portaloos for the Sportsfield and related insurance matters, Speed Indicator devices update, Somerton's 'Abandoned Car ', the letter from the Church Commissioners regarding the non-lease of the Parish Rooms, the Cycle Tour of Wessex (adjudged a big success) and finally a discussion about Police attendance at Council Meetings.

08:18 and the thorny matter of 'Finance' was discussed with the Schedule for Payments where the Town Clerk asked for comments and there were none so the payments were proposed and agreed. MuckandBrass hopes that, as the Town Clerk stated, the schedule of payments will continue to be published on a monthly basis in order that rate-payers can see where dosh is being sploshed.

Planning took us to 08:29 and 'Correspondance' where the Meeting was informed that 'The Visitor' has invited the Town Council to advertise the Dunny's facilities for hire. Cllr 'Bufton Tufton' Deering intoned that he was "absolutely in favour but would prefer to refer the matter to the Management Committee as it would need co-ordination." Then there was a discussion about the work done by the owners of the field at the bottom of Gashouse Lane and how they should be congratulated on their efforts to keep that entrance to the town looking good. This was followed by a discussion about the position of the bus stops on Behind Berry, then a request from the Rotary to use Cox's Car Park for a collection and an invitation from the retiring Commodore at Yeovilton for a representative to attend his 'passing out' do. Cllr Beale volunteered to attend leaving MuckandBrass to hope that the RNAS have a day-bed on hand.

08:39 and a letter regarding flooding at the bottom of the sportsfield which led on to a bried discussion about having a water meter fitted at the Parish Rooms. MuckandBrass wondered why it has taken STC 20 years to realise that meters are better than ratings for water bills.

08:48 and a new subject titled 'Late Post' which covered: the use of the bandstand at Etsome for Bandstand events; confirmation that STC CCTV footage had helped with a motoring conviction; an update on the ped-xing on Behind Berry where the Town Clerk confirmed that plans had been sent out (by SSDC?) and were not yet available; a 17 piece swing band were enquiring if STC needed their services at the Dunny; a weird non-sequiteur about supporting Somerton's PCSO and the Vice proffered the opinion that, "You can't park in Yeovil, Taunton etc, so why in Somerton."; the closure of the lease (MuckandBrass can't remember what this was about) followed by a VAT reclaim relating to Etsome.

08:57 and we had the speaking Chair jabbering once more about providing a car for the First Responders. MuckandBrass still thinks that a Town Council who can't find £2,000 to sort out public loos should be paying attention a bit nearer to home.

09:00 and Agenda Items for June marked the end of a suprememly boring meeting. In June we can look forward to at least a discussion about a Finance Committee. MuckandBrass is betting on nothing happening on this one till 2025 or when Tony Canvin retires to Miami, whichever is the sooner. SSDC's Core Structure Programme may be explained to the enthralled masses by a planner but MuckandBrass doubts it. Then, right at the end and with a keen sense of timing the Chair announced that there would be news about the alotolootments. Evidently Dave Wellington knows about it. MuckandBrass is on tenterhooks.

09:03 and another Meeting came to an end. MuckandBrass thought that it was pretty tedious but at least members of the public (all 11 of them) weren't entertained with red-card behaviour from the Chair and Vice. That is a welcome development.