Protests over Kirklees Council cuts have ended up costing taxpayers almost half-a-million pounds.
The council revealed campaigns to protect services had ironically cost a fortune through the delayed implementation of the savings.
But Kirklees Tory chief, Clr Robert Light, hit back and said the “incompetent Cabinet” was liable for the wasted cash.
Lib Dem leader, Clr Nicola Turner, said councillors “might as well go home” if they could not fight decisions they thought were wrong.
As reported, decisions by the council to scale back libraries and mowing and park maintenance were both challenged after they had been agreed.
Both were sent to the council’s scrutiny panel who then referred them back to the council’s Cabinet.
The eight-week delay to the implementation of the new library services, caused by the Lib Dems, cost an extra £280,000.
The grass cutting hold up, following a referral by both groups, cost taxpayers £200,000.
“Neither of the challenges changed anything” he said. “We took two hours from Birstall library and gave them to Mirfield library.
“We took a decision to make cuts. When we do we get opposition to it.
“If we had implemented it the day we made the decision we could have saved a lot of money.”
Clr Light refuted any suggestion that the Conservatives had cost taxpayers money by challenging the grass cutting decision.
He said: “It was rushed, and not thought through properly. It was one of the worst pieces of work I’ve seen.
“That proposal was shambolic and never should have seen the light of day.
“The incompetent Cabinet should be liable for that.”
Clr Turner said a “really arrogant” Cabinet that weren’t prepared to listen was the problem.
She said: “If we had a committee system we would have had the opportunity to ask those questions then.
“Yes £280,000 is a huge amount of money but on the other hand we have to have the ability to ask these questions otherwise what’s the point?
Clr Sheard said he hoped over the next few years councillors of all parties would recognise the chronic lack of funding and help to find ways to save money.
The Examiner has revealed an £84m shortage of cash has been identified in the council’s finances over the next five years.
He said: “What grieves me locally is the Conservatives are deficit deniers. They come along with a budget and say we don’t need to change anything.
“If we weren’t spending our balances (reserves) now there would be an extra £12m cuts this year and £27m cuts next year.
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“We have got to have balances, things happen that you don’t know about.
“We’d not planned to spend that.
“We’ve got three large Victorian town halls and I can’t see us being able to get rid of them – they’re a bit of a white elephant.”
Clr Sheard said if other parties or members of the public thought the council was wasting money somewhere then he would be happy to investigate.
He added: “I’ve no doubt there is waste and if we find it we’ll stop it.
“But the Lib Dems every year want us to spend money on a bridge (over the river in the Colne Valley).
“They come up with ideas we think are wasteful.
“In the past councillors didn’t like to say no to their constituents.
“Now they’re going to have to.
“They can’t say I’ll do that for you, they’re going to have to say I’ll help you do it for yourself.”
Director of resources Dr David Smith said a Mori survey showed the public had not appreciated how badly hit councils had been.
He said: “They think austerity is getting less, they don’t recognise there have been cuts to local services.
“They think pensioners have seen cuts; they haven’t.
“Those groups are perhaps better than we are at getting the message across to what kind of position we’re in.”