13 June 2009

Look in the mirror.........

Our revered Chair, Cllr Keenan, seems to be a decent chap and its only within the confines of Somerton Town Council's activities that his flaws become apparent. Take the last meeting of the Town Council on the 9th of June where, in response to comments supportive of Muck&Brass, he observed that Muck&Brass's approach was, "Never mind the truth, make it interesting.".

Muck&Brass would humbly suggest that Cllr Keenan takes a good long look in the mirror before opening his trap with that sort of comment.

In the pages of the Western Gazette dated Thursday 28th May 2009, The Gazette's ace reporter, Dave Nichols, wrote a piece of garbage about the Tin Dunny and the first line of the piece read, "Finishing touches are being made to a new £1M community hall to benefit Somerton residents.". Both Roger Calderwood (Town Clerk, £30k pa plus pension) and Cllr Keenan are featured in this article so one assumes that they approved the figure of £1M for the Tin Dunny which is quoted in the article.

Muck&Brass would ask a simple question - Is that the true cost of the Tin Dunny to the community of Somerton? Muck&Brass believes that the figure is closer to, or in excess of, £1.5M. What is Muck&Brass's basis for that belief? Its really rather simple. Nowhere in any of the published figures has the Responsible Financial Officer (the Town Clerk) noted the cost to the Community of Somerton of the ownership of the land at Etsome Terrace which was swapped for the Tin Dunny.

That land cost Somerton Town Council £220,000 in 2003 and interest repayments till September 2008 probably added another £50k. Then there was the demolition and clearance of the site (cost currently unknown) plus the 'contamination clear-up' which cost Somerton Town Council another £130k. Looking at these figures, you quickly get to £400,000 and there are sure to be other hidden costs. One hidden cost is the failure of Cllrs Canvin and Keenan to negotiate an 'uplift clause' in the sale contract for Etsome Terrace. As a result, Edgar Homes are able to increase the density of development on the site without having to share the increased value with Somerton. (Muck&Brass thinks that this is a pretty odd mistake for someone with Cllr Canvin's experience to have made.)

Muck&Brass is not suggesting any wrongdoing here but Muck&Brass is stating quite clearly that the costs to the community of the Tin Dunny are far higher than are being reported. Either Paddy Keenan and Roger Calderwood don't know how to add up or they can't tell the difference between 'the truth' and a hole in the ground.

So, Paddy, the next time you bandy about the term 'truth', make sure that you know what it means.