A Tory councillor under investigation for failing to pay paying almost £12,000 in council tax has said it was a “genuine mistake”.
Bill Green did not register his garage conversion flat next to his house as a separate dwelling before renting it out for up to £900 a month.
For the past nine years the flat was viewed as part of his Hanslope home, which is in the £2,800 a year Band G.
This week, following questions from the Citizen, Councillor Green has paid £11,805 in outstanding council tax and referred himself to the council’s Standards Committee for scrutiny.
Mr Green was elected to serve Newport Pagnell North and Hanslope in February following the death of his councillor wife Jeanette, who was previously the elected member.
He said he rented out the flat believing the council tax would fall under his own connecting property’s valuation.
He told the Citizen:: “Following concerns raised by a local resident to MK Citizen, I asked Milton Keynes Council and the Valuation Office to look at my main property and the conversion to check that the rate of Council Tax I was paying was correct.
“Following the review the Valuation Office have decided that both properties should have been treated separately. A retrospective revaluation showed that there had been an underpayment of £3,600 from 2015 – 2018 whilst the conversion was rented out to a third party and a further £8,205 whilst the property was used by my son from 2009 – 2015”.
Mr Green added: The outstanding amounts have been settled in full and the properties have been registered separately for Council Tax. I would like to offer an unreserved apology to my colleagues at the council and the residents of my ward. It was a genuine mistake and one I am very embarrassed about.
“I have referred myself to the Standards Committee at Milton Keynes Council and I will work hard to rebuild any trust I have lost amongst my colleagues and residents.”
Tory leader Alex Walker said: “Although this is an unfortunate situation, Councillor Green has taken the correct actions in both ensuring the underpayments were settled immediately and offering an unreserved apology. Knowing Bill as I do, I accept this was a genuine mistake, but it is right he has referred himself to the Standards Committee.”
Today it was announced that Mr Green will NOT face punishment over the council tax issue.
His group leader Alex Walker said: “We’ve discussed full details with the monitoring officer at the council and they are content that this does not need to go to standards.
Estate agents Michael Graham advertised the two bedroom flat earlier this year as available for rent at £900 a month. The advert states: “The council tax is included in the rent.”
This is the second time the Green family has been the subject of controversy over developments at their home, which is a courtyard of converted barns at Hanslope’s Hungate End Farm.
Bill Green’s son Richard, who sits on Hanslope parish council, was under investigation last year for allegedly breaching planning laws to convert one of the barns into an office without getting the necessary planning permission from MK Council.
At the time, Mr Green said he and his wife had no involvement in their son’s property business.
One resident is now furious at the latest ‘mistake’.
“I am astounded that a local ward councillor, with a son who is a parish councillor have failed to notify the council of their duty to pay council tax,” she said.