Named: The two Northampton councillors who failed to pay their council tax bills on time

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FoI request reveals James Hill and Muna Cali were both barred from voting on next year’s council tax increases

Two Northampton councillors who failed to pay council tax bills on time have been named by West Northamptonshire Council.

Councillor James Hill and Councillor Muna Cali both received reminders within the last year.

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A Freedom of Information request submitted by this newspaper revealed Cllr Hill, who represents Billing & Rectory Farm ward, was served with Liability Order order at Northampton Magistrates Court on February 11 this year.

James Hill and Muna Cali.James Hill and Muna Cali.
James Hill and Muna Cali.

Cllr Hill said the arrears had come about by a bill being posted to an old address but confirmed he had removed himself from voting on next year’s council budget as a result of the oversight.

He said: “The bill in question related to a previous address which unfortunately was not picked by myself until earlier this year, which resulted in a late reminder being issued.

"As a result, I did not vote on the Council’s 2022/23 budget in accordance with Section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992.

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"I have since made arrangements with West Northants to settle the outstanding bill. I would like to apologise to all residents of West Northants for this incident and assure all that a mistake like this will not occur again.”

Cllr Cali, a member of the council's Labour group who represents St George, received a reminder over her arrears on February 18.

She did not respond to an email offering opportunity to comment although the council said she did not attend the meeting which voted through an average 2.99 percent rise in council tax on February 24.

Cllr Hill, a former borough councillor since 2015, topped the polls for the Conservatives in Billing & Rectory Farm in last May's first West Northamptonshire elections.

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He also chairs the Northampton Borough Diverse Communities Forum.

Bills which dropped through letterboxes last week showed increases of 4.10 percent in Daventry and 3.34 percent in South Northants — while former Northampton Borough Council residents saw just a 2.29 percent rise.

Differences are due to a three-year ‘harmonisation’ of council tax following last year’s local government reorganisation, a legacy of pre-2021 rates which were traditionally lower in the old councils.