Falmouth Town Councillors spent plenty of time talking themselves in circles on Monday while debating a motion on financial oversight, which was later dismissed.

Former mayor and recently returned councillor Roger Bonney had put forward a motion for the council to set up a working party, excluding members of the finance sub committee, to examine every area of town expenditure in order to carry out a programme of cuts.

In an explanatory note passed to councillors before the meeting, he set out his reasoning for the motion. The note stated: "To look into the cost of running the town's toilets. To spend £21,000 on toilet consumables, over £400 a week, plus wages, plus lighting, water and rates, the total bill is tremendous. there must be ways of making significant savings. We can't expect the ratepayer to keep paying and suffering financially."

Explaining his motion in person, he added: "I find it offensive for older people who have got to pay a lot more to keep this going. I want an explanation."

While Mr Bonney's motion failed to receive a seconder, Councillor Mathew McCarthy jumped upon it as an opportunity to suggest an amendment, bringing back to the council table an old issue he and other councillors had about lack of accessibility to the finance sub committee, which draws up the town's draft budget each year.

He said: "A separate committee is probably not the answer to this.

"What would be better would be... an inclusive sub committee that any member can sit and observe, not excluding anybody."

He was seconded by Councillor Steve Eva, who said: "Sometimes it's hard tor everybody to get a say and be heard, by opening up the finance sub committee for everyone to attend you can see what's been said."

The deputy mayor, Trish Minson, thanked Mr Bonney for the motion which she said had "focused minds" on the issue, and said she hoped it would remind councillors that it was their duty to thoroughly examine all the papers that they received from the sub committee.

Councillor Candy Atherton told councillors that if all they wanted to do was observe the sub committee, rather than discuss and vote on it, they could do that anyway, and in fact Councillor David Saunby often did just that.

She said: "It's not a secret committee that's meeting whenever.

"If you want to go through [the budget] page by page, if you want to do that in a full meeting, please be prepared to put days aside."

And she added: "I'm very happy to accept [people sitting in the meetings], what I don;t want is for a lot of us to sit and go through the same debates."

And she defended the expenditure on the toilets, which she said was a better deal than Cornwall Council had got, saying: "I object to the idea that somehow we can't spend the money that we do to keep the town clean. People want to keep open the public toilets, people have said they don't want to spend 20p to spend a penny, they don't want the roof falling in at Gylly."

Much of the debate was taken up by discussions over protocol on how the motion should be followed and debated, before Mr McCarthy's amendment passed. However, as the original motion had no seconder, the entire issue was dismissed.