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Councillor named by Private Eye

An investigation by Private Eye into councillors who failed to pay their council tax has listed Duncan Cossey as having been sent to court for non-payment of council tax of £1194.81. Mr. Cossey who is a Conservative District Councillor on Taunton Deane Borough Council represents the ward of North Curry and Stoke St Gregory.

Under Section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, councillors who have gone to court for enforcement of unpaid council tax that was unpaid for more than two months, are barred from voting on the District Council budget. The Eye investigation lists Mr Cossey as having been barred from voting.

Under these circumstances the councillor has a choice. He may either absent himself from the meeting, or attend the meeting and debar himself from speaking when the budget discussions commence. Taunton Deane Borough Council discussed the budget and setting of council tax at their 23rd February meeting at The Deane House when Mr Cossey was duly listed under the apologies for absence. So at least that has been done properly.

However as the minutes of the meeting are silent on the reason for that absence, and there is no indication that councillors voted to approve any reason for absence (as would be the case at a Parish or Town Council meetings – section 85 of the Local Government Act 1972 appears to suggest this is necessary) one wonders if the District Council are really meeting the obligation for openness in the conduct of their business.

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