Roughton council's budget agony

Residents of a village where the parish council is battling with a persistent complainer will have their local council tax bill doubled instead of quadrupled as first feared.

Residents of a village where the parish council is battling with a persistent complainer will have their local council tax bill doubled instead of quadrupled as first feared.

Roughton near Cromer is having to pick up the bill for audit fees caused by the constant complaints and queries by villager, and former councillor, Tony Musker.

Parish councillors last night slashed their 'worst case' budget in half - but will be unable to give grant help to local organisations such as the youth club.

It means the village tax demand, currently �27, will be about �60 instead of the �114 proposed under the worst scenario.

And the meeting heard that police were acting as mediators seeking to get Mr Musker to talk things through with councillors, and repair the harm being done - on both sides - to benefit the parish, said PC Gary Medlar.

During the council meeting, attended by about 30 members of the public, people cried 'shame' and 'How can he sleep in his bed?' when the results of Mr Musker's actions - resulting in bills running into thousands of pounds - were reported.

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He did not attend, but his wife Jenny did. When asked by a councillor why her husband made scores of complaints, she said: 'I won't speak on his behalf' but called on the council to show some 'decency' by looking at its actions.

District council standards solicitor Elizabeth Smith said Mr Musker had the right to challenge, but there were national moves afoot to change the law, so that serious queries needed the signatures of 10 people.

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