A COUNCILLOR has walked out on the Conservatives in protest against a rise in the town’s council tax.
Councillor Maxine Buck announced she has now become an independent after concerns over the hike in tax payers’ bills.
She is the second councillor to make a stand over the issue after it was agreed to increase the town council portion of residents’ council tax by nearly 10 per cent.
Andrew Hamilton, who was a Conservative councillor on the town council, quit after his colleagues voted for the increase stating he had campaigned in last year’s May’s elections promising that the precept would not rise this year.
She said, “It is with great regret that I must announce that I have resigned from the Conservative Group. I intend to remain as an independent councillor.
“I believe that by becoming independent I will be better able to represent the views of my constituents in East Ward and voice their concerns.
“When I stood as councillor, I, along with my other East Ward Conservative candidates made certain pledges to the voters which included keeping the council tax low by effectively reviewing our budget and making economies wherever possible.
“In the ensuing months I have felt increasingly despondent about the way business is conducted generally. I opposed the increase in the precept and was threatened with suspension if I abstained or voted against the proposed rise.
“I found myself in the same situation as Andy Hamilton and had to absent myself in order to avoid suspension. On occasions the feeling of intimidation was palpable. I do not consider it conducive to effective and efficient conduct of council business.”
The Esplanade resident said the last straw was when she found out about internal elections for appointments to offices the day before.
Councillor Ian White, Leader of Seaford Town Council, said, “I understand Cllr Buck’s point of view and respect her decision to leave the group. I’m pleased that she remains as a councillor, I think she’s got a lot to give. I hope when she sees what we’re trying to achieve in the future she may feel she can rejoin us.
“I’m at a loss to understand why they were campaigning on a no increase in the precept. There was nothing in any town or district manifesto at the last election that promised that.”