Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Shall we plant a money tree at the Town Council

The Town Council set it's budget this evening, the third year running with nil increase in the Town rate.

The Town Council used it's usual mixture of £30,000 underspend from the tax taken this year to subsidise the council tax for next year, so little money spent this year to give the illusion of a financially sensible council, but in reality it is a Town Council with no vision and no active programme for Shepton. Moribund the word.

Effectively, we have no active programme for the coming year, every none committed budget headline is under risk so can be vired to save other services, cuts made by either the County or District Council, if the Town Council vire money to save the Library or Youth Services or other services this will commit money, the Council are effectively spending £26,000 more than they are taxing this year, so next year if the Town Council use all it's money to protect services, they will increase the Council tax by £8 or so.

I supported a small increase in Council tax for this year, if we are to protect the Town services, we are going to have to raise money to pay for them in a sustainable fashion, for example £10,000 raised costs about 5pence a week, I am not hiding from my decision, here it is in black and white, because there is no money tree at the Town Council, you raise revenue or you cannot help the Towns priorities. However the majority of the Council did not support this strategy.

The Town Council chose to extend it's Collett Park contract with quadron until March 2012, at RPI, I said this was unacceptable, we should not be offering such good terms and we should be offering to local contractors to keep local money in local hands, again this was rejected.

Mendip Council are offering their ground care contract on the basis of offering the service based on a lump of money, with the contractor telling Mendip what they will do for the money, goodness knows how this will be performance manage this contract.

The Town Council are sponsoring a Public meeting on Friday 14 January at 7.00pm at the District Council chamber to discuss the cuts to the Library Service cuts in Shepton.

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