A PARISH council clerk hopes an irate villager will be placated after businesses were asked to help meet the cost of hanging baskets.
John Holland protested when Malpas Parish Council covered the entire cost of last year's baskets in the village centre.
This year 40 baskets were ordered at a cost of £418 but local businesses contributed £272, leaving the council to pick up a bill of just £146.
Clerk Margaret Barker told the monthly meeting: 'I hope our friend is happy. There's been an awful lot of work. You have had to go round every single shop beforehand and ask them what they want. Rosie (Cllr Rosie Caine) went to every single shop afterwards to collect the money. After the summer we've got to go round every single place and collect the baskets.'
Chairman Anna Patten, who hopes Malpas will do well in the Community Pride competition, said: 'It's created a lot of work but it's reduced the cost to the community and they are very nice hanging baskets. The lady who made them should be congratulated.'
It was during a debate over whether to increase local tax that Mr Holland told councillors they should not have paid for last year's baskets.
'It is wrong to raise it by 11% and expect elderly people to pay it out of their pensions when you spend public money on hanging baskets,' said Mr Holland.
'It is a waste of £355 of vital resources, which could have spent elsewhere.' The council asked Mr Holland to end the discussion when the half-hour open forum section of the meeting had closed. But when he continued, they had to repeatedly ask him to leave.
In an e-mail to Chester city and parish councillor Keith Ebben, Mr Holland expanded his argument.
'Most of the hanging baskets have gone to businesses which trade within the village and therefore the baskets are deemed legitimate business expenses by the Inland Revenue,' he said.
'Had the businesses bought their own hanging baskets, the Revenue would have allowed the total cost to be offset against tax. I checked with the Revenue to ensure that this was correct.
'They even suggested that the parish council may wish to sell the baskets to the businesses and then the businesses re-cover the cost through their trading return. Bigger and better baskets could flood the village next year with no cost to the trader or to the parish council.'
In a reply, Cllr Ebben thanked Mr Holland for the information, said it was a good idea and asked if he would be willing to help in organising it next year.
But Mr Holland sent an e-mail back saying: 'I do not believe that hanging baskets should be the responsibility of the parish council. They should be the responsibility of the individual businesses.'