Your Parish Council FAQ
How many people are on our council and who are they?
There are seven members on the Council: Robin Basatable (Chairman), Peter Furneaux (Vice-Chairman), Ruth Kimber, Martin Haskett, Robert Parker, Christopher Mievelle and Simon Turk.
When do the local council meetings take place?
Regular meetings are held on the second Wednesday of January, March, May, July, September and November. In addition for planning matters that cannot be considered at the regular meetings special meetings for planning matters only can be held on the second Wednesday of:Febuary, April, June, August and October.
All meetings start at 7.30pm and are held at the Village Hall. The AGM is held in May.
How long do councillors serve?
Their term is four years before a new election or automatically re-elected see below.
How do people become councillors?
The village elects them. However, if, at the end of a term there are only seven nominees an election does not have to take place and the nominated members are automatically elected. If there are more than seven people nominated then an election takes place. These nominees can be members who are already serving and/or new nominees.
How does one get nominated?
A nomination form is filled out and signed by someone who wishes to nominate you.
How is the Chairman elected?
The Chairman elected by the other councillors at the AGM. His/her term is 12 months but he/she can be re-elected.
How is the Council funded?
Totally by precept. Every year the Council decide how much they need to spend – this amount is put forward to South Somerset District Council for approval – once approved the amount is divided by the number of households paying council tax and is added to the council tax bill. The budget is officially audited at the end of each year.
Do the Councillors get paid?
No, Councillors are paid nothing, not even expenses; they serve as councillors on a purely voluntary basis. However the Parish Clerk is paid. The Parish Clerk is responsible for taking notes at meetings, taking care of correspondence etc. The Parish Clerk is paid according to the national scale for Parish Clerks. A parish the size of ours is deemed to need 4 hours of the Clerk’s time each week. The Parish Clerk gets the post either by answering an advertisement in the local press or by personal recommendation.
What are the Council’s responsibilities?
To budget for parish, for example, the upkeep of the churchyard, including maintenance of machinery etc. To look after the assets of the village, for example the notice board, bench, churchyard and the playing field. Report on the condition of the highways and any other problems, which arise in the village. They make sure the public liability insurance is paid; they take care of the Parish Plan, which is the way forward for the parish over the next 20 years. They pay the Clerk and auditor. They also make charitable donations, for example to The Dorset Air Ambulance, which has been vital to the village in the past.
Have they any teeth when it comes to planning applications?
The council can make recommendations on planning applications but the final decision lies with the SSDC. There is usually a District Councillor at planning meetings and this councillor will note details of all discussions and recommendations brought up at the planning meeting and take this information back to the SSDC.
Is the parish council responsible for the village hall?
No, the village hall is owned and run on behalf of the community by the Charlton Musgrove Memorial Hall Trustees. The Council can nominate one trustee.
How many members need to be present for a meeting to proceed?
Three members constitute a quorum. If the numbers are less than three a meeting cannot take place, and has to be abandoned.
Can anyone come to meetings?
Everyone is welcome to come to meetings. The meetings are advertised in the village notice board outside St John’s Churchyard together with the agenda and the minutes of the previous meeting.
By coming to a meeting can anything be changed?
At the start of any meeting visitors have the right to make comments, which will then be considered when the relevant matter is discussed. If someone attends the meeting with specific and specialist knowledge of a subject they may give a talk to explain this to the council so that the council are in full possession of the facts.
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