£1,200 is cost of democracy at Helston by-election
PROMOTING local democracy comes at a cost, town councillors in Helston were told on Monday.
It fact, it works out at around £1,200 for the town council by-election on March 6.
It comes after the resignation of Lloyd Harries and is organised by Cornwall Council.
The council asked the town council for £1,200 to print and deliver polling cards to around 3,600 electors in the north ward of Helston.
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Town councillors were dismayed at the cost but deputy mayor Mike Thomas gave an impassioned speech about the importance of prompting democracy at a local level.
He said: "The need for polling cards? I feel immensely strong about this.
"It is our civic duty as a council to inform members of the community to vote in this election.
"Otherwise, we look like a private members' club.
"This is a public office. We need to let the public know that this council exists."
He said it may be unfortunate to spend the money but that was the cost.
However, Councillor Ronnie Williams said it seemed a waste of money given the election has been publicised in the press and on council noticeboards.
He said: "We are in time of hardship and for a single seat, to spend this money like this, I think it's ludicrous."
Councillor John Martin added: "I think everyone should have a right to vote so cards should be in the hand of every voter in the north ward."
The council heard polling cards have only been used once in the five previous council vacancies, although three of those were uncontested.
They voted and it was agreed to order the cards from Cornwall Council.