Friday, November 19, 2010

District Councillors still don't get it!

The District Councillors on the OSP - Economic Well-being have shown they still don't get the crisis the Conservatives have gotten themselves into at HDC. The OSP has sent a report to the Cabinet and this is a critique of what these Councillors missed.
The first point the OSP missed was the proposed cuts isn't all of the money needing to be saved.
As can be seen in the red line in the above graphic there still needs to be £4.3 million cut from the budget by 2015/16 with £500,000 still required for 2011/12 budget. More savings need to be made. Instead of making savings the Councillors decided to start saving services without showing where other cuts could be made. Some examples are:

1. The report says:
The Panel were saying hold onto services. Where the money is going to come from to pay for these services the Panel is silent. They moan services are going to be cut but don't understand why!

2. Another example:
So hang onto employees. There are many "mights" and little realistic thinking. I didn't realise Councillors were looking after employees before services to residents. But they are!

3. Another example of hanging onto services:
Sounds good on paper. Yet our Council and councillors have had at least 6 years to do this.

4. And they still don't get it!
The whole mess is the Council cannot afford to do what it currently does. It won't be picking up the bill to replace the lost activities. So why go down this road.

5. Disregard the consultation:
In reports about the unpublished consultation one of the main findings was to switch off CCTV. In blatant disregard for the result the Panel says the service is needed. Again silence on where this Panel thought the money was coming from to pay for CCTV.

6. But it wasn't all bad:
Again this would lead to a cost saving. Must have been reading this blog.

7. It all goes sour pretty quickly:
The idea that the Leisure Centres will become profitable if money is poured into them is a misnomer. Whilst the Leisure Department talks up profitability, in reality, these centres are so off being profitable, even with large amounts of public subsidy, the Councillors need to learn the truth. This does make me wonder whether the Councillors know the truth as the financial position of the Leisure Centres?

8. And it just gets worse
The only way to communicate with all residents is to have a Council propaganda sheet. The Panel is worried that Council Propaganda will not go to all residents. Here is a suggestion. The Political Parties put out their own leaflets to residents on a quarterly basis rather than relying on the Council to produce propaganda.

The Panel goes onto pushing costs elsewhere and specifically the Towns.

 So the Town and Parish Councils are to pick up the costs. Delegating functions should come with the cash to run these services. This isn't what the Panel means. They want to delegate without money so the Town and Parish Councils pass these costs onto the Council Taxpayer. A Conservative Stealth Tax.

The Town Councils should pick up the tax bill for this. The cost would be passed onto the Town Council Taxpayer. The Conservative Stealth Tax continues. But hold on here. The cost of street cleansing is for all. If this was passed down to Town Councils then I, in St Neots, would pay higher costs, but those in say Little Paxton would pay nothing to the street cleansing in St Neots. Yet, the vast majority of villagers use the Towns. Would St Neots be able to charge Little Paxton Parish Council for the use of their villagers make of St Neots streets? The answer is no. If we are going to look at this sort of redistribution then lets look at waste collection. In the Towns this is relatively easy to do with houses so close together. But it takes far longer and costs far more to service Toseland or Abbotsley or even some of the Ramseys. Isn't its time this "politics of envy" was put to bed. If our Councillors want to go down the route of user pays then fine. The major losers will be village residents as the true cost of providing services will fall on them. Accept that services are cross subsidised and live with it rather than try to pick holes in service costs which would benefit you and ignore the services cost which don't.

In conclusion, this report shows the ignorance of some of our District Councillors as to the predicament HDC finds itself in. It also shows they feel Town Councils should pay more whilst ignoring costs they don't want to pay for. No wonder HDC finds itself in the mess when some of our Councillors don't seem to know what they are doing!

1 comment:

amandahug14 said...

The News and Crier and Hunts Post are both delivered to thousands of homes in the district.
They are also available to buy, and free online.
Surely the council can get most of their "messages" across by using the local press, BBC and radio.
And where the press won't carry the story, surely a number of adverts would be cheaper than producing District Wide.

Mandy H