'Quit' decision could leave a £10,000 bill
BODMIN residents could be faced with a by-election bill of more than £10,000 following the resignation of two former mayors.
If an election is called, the two new councillors would only be eligible to attend one full council meeting before people go to the polls again in May for the local government elections.
Bodmin mayor Ken Stubbs believes holding a by-election amounted to a "waste of money'' and urged prospective candidates to think twice before putting up for the council.
Ten or more residents have to write to Cornwall Council to force a by-election, but the town council would prefer to co-opt two new members and save it the cost.
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It is expected that as many as five current town councillors will not be seeking re-election come May.
The vacancies have been caused by the resignation of Linda Spear and Michelle Griffiths over a land deal.
Both accused their former council colleagues of serious breaches in local government rules after the council exchanged a parcel of land with West End Motors to make way for a pay and display car park off Dennison Road.
This week, Bodmin mayor Ken Stubbs said the two councillors had previously indicated they would not be standing again in May, and to run a by-election in the coming months would be a waste of taxpayers' money.
Mr Stubbs said: "These two councillors resigned after the council exchanged a very small piece of land to allow work to be completed on the new car park in Dennison Road, which was a perfectly legal use of the council's powers.''
He said that the by-election is not likely to take place until late January or February, leaving just one full council meeting for them to attend before May.
The mayor said: "Spending in excess of £10,000 to elect two councillors who would have no time to achieve anything on the council seems to me to be a waste of money.
Bodmin Town Council has now agreed to advertise the two vacancies, one in St Mary's ward and the other in St Petroc's ward.
Elections will only take place if potential candidates can persuade ten people on the electoral roll to call one by November 13.
Alternatively, anyone living or working in Bodmin can apply after November 13 to join as a co-opted member. Mr Stubbs added: ''I am as much in favour of democracy and elections as anybody. But in this case, I hope anybody asked to put their name to a form demanding an election will stop, think and ask if the cost involved is worth two councillors attending one meeting.''