A town council, which was labelled “toxic” after it spent thousands in legal fees, saw two members suspended and all councillors ordered to undergo “code of conduct” training, has opted not to increase its council tax precept.
Conwy town council announced this week that it would not be seeking more cash from residents this year.
Its precept is added on to Conwy county’s main council tax demand, along with a charge for policing.
From April, the amount of cash it will request via council tax bills, for those living within the town council area, will be the same as this year – £284,653.
It means anyone in a Band D property will pay £39.17 for the year, around 75 pence per week.
The body is expecting to spend £346,063 in the next financial year, meaning the shortfall of £61,410 will be paid out its general reserves.
Mayor Emma Leighton-Jones said no increase was proposed “in order to help residents of Conwy, Deganwy and Llandudno Junction during these difficult times”.
She added: “The Town Council precept makes just one portion of the council tax bill which is divided between the county council, the police and crime commissioner, and Community Council.
“The figures for the above will be confirmed in the coming weeks. We absolutely understand the impact this pandemic is having on people, be it financially, physically or emotionally and that is why we felt now is the right time to maintain our precept at 2019-20 levels.”
The council was in the news recently after it emerged almost four years of in-fighting between staff and members and also between councillors themselves had left them saddled with thousands of pounds in legal bills.
One former councillor, Tracy Hughes, said she left the body because of the “toxic atmosphere” that had developed.
It followed a row over an appointment to a school governing body, and who would collect letters for Santa from the school, which escalated into a £6,000 solicitor-led investigation and two Ombudsman inquiries.
The Public Service Ombudsman for Wales referred two councillors, Terry James and his wife and former mayor Pat Hart, to Conwy county council’s Standard’s Committee.
His report alleged they failed to declare “prejudicial interests” at council meetings discussing staff Cllr Hart was in dispute with.
The committee took a “very serious view of the breaches” and noted both councillors “appeared to have a lack of insight” into their actions and the consequences.
It also said there was “a chaotic atmosphere within the town council where procedures may not have been correctly followed” during the time of the breaches but it was both councillors’ responsibility to adhere to the code of conduct.
They were each barred from office by the Standard’s Committee for one month, with the suspension ending on January 1 this year. It also ordered all Conwy town councillors to undergo “code of conduct” training.