Manxonia, rates and transparency all raised
Villagers gathered in Port St Mary last night (25 June) to air concerns over recent decisions made by their commissioners.
Around forty members of the public quizzed the board over its £190,000 purchase of Manxonia House, a recent 5.2% rate rise, as well as a general lack of communication with residents.
The future of Manxonia dominated debate, with some villagers supportive of investment in the heart of the community, whilst others were critical of the cost of the project.
Since it was purchased, the local authority has had to undertake significant repairs, thought to cost upwards of £100,000, yet work still needs to be done to bring the site up to a modern standard.
A business case was not put forward to the public at the time the site was bought, and many at the meeting criticised the lack of transparency over the entire process.
One member of the public said 'it's not what you've done, it's the way you've done it that's caused the most concern'.
Port St Mary Commissioners are split on way forward and have sought valuations for the property from three estate agents to establish a clear financial picture.
Chair Dr Michelle Haywood said 'we've hit the pause button before we try and agree what we do next. The board needs to see all the costs and valuations for the building and we can then look at options'.
Previous chairman Laurence Vaughan-Williams remains staunchly in support of the Manxonia project. He wants to make the building 'an asset to yield an increasing income by letting it on a full repairing lease with regular rent reviews'.