Davie Paterson is accusing both Councillor Watson McAteer and Andrew Farquhar of mislesading the public in an attempt to have the council’s green waste cuts overturned.
And after months of flak over the scrapped service, Councillor Paterson says he’s had enough and is claiming that Councillor McAteer has his figures wrong and that former member Mr Farquhar is giving folk false hope of having the green waste collections restarted.
In a no-holds-barred interview on Wednesday, Councillor Paterson hit back saying: “Watson McAteer and Andrew Farquhar are misleading the public. I just can’t watch folk being hoodwinked any longer.”
Almost six months after the council scrapped the garden refuse collections the row rumbles on and this week the man who proposed the cuts came out fighting.
Mr Paterson said: “The Waste Management Strategy Document is clear. Plans to impose any financial penalty on the council have been shelved and the council has that in writing. This will not happen. Watson McAteer misled the public in his recent letter to the paper by saying we would be hit by penalties of £900,000. This is no longer the case and it is wrong for him to say that.
“And while I am all for people bringing petitions to the council, folk are just being hoodwinked into thinking the service will be reinstated.
“I’ve even had constituents who live in areas which had no green bin collection asking if they can have the service if the petition is successful.
“I agonised over this decision. I knew it was going to be unpopular but I stand by it. The savings had to be made.
“The withdrawl of the garden waste service will pale into insignificance compared to some of the cuts that are to come.”
Asked to give examples of which services are under threat, Councillor Paterson said: “I can’t comment further.”
And speaking on Thursday, Councillor Watson McAteer refused to back down: “As previously stated the facts I refer to are available for all to see in the minute and appendices of the Scottish Borders Council meeting held on December 12, last year.
Councillor Paterson’s ridiculous allegation is nothing more than a desperate attempt to personalise this matter and deflect attention from the real issue which is his leadership role in having our garden waste collection removed.”
And Mr Farquhar added: “People are fully supportive of this petition and they will decide if they’ve been misled but that is not the message I am getting. The people who are most outraged are ordinary folk who don’t expect much of their council but they expect better than this.
“There some huge decisions looming and if the council handles these the same way it handled garden waste we’re in trouble.”