Monday, November 1, 2010

HDC draft budget released.

The Economic Well-being OSP is receiving the draft budget for 2011/12 and the outlook is not very good. HDC has started by changing the calculation on the 40 pence rise it thought it might get through. The Medium Term Plan still has many "unidentified savings to be made". To me this is a council living in fantasy land and the reality of the situation the Council got itself into has still to hit home. Anyway onto the Budget and MTP.

New Homes Bonus - Is it right the District Council gets this rather than the Towns and Parishes which take the burden?

Where are the survey results? - The document refers to the survey results. Why hasn't HDC published these results?

4.2 Council Tax. Band D is the average Council tax band used. Indeed throughout much of these documents Band D average is used. But in this section Band C is used to hoodwink the Council Taxpayer. Why? 40 pence a week equals £20.80 a year. But using C band instead of D Band is wrong. By increasing C Band by 40 pence it means D Band increases by 45 pence a week or £23.40 a year. Not much of a difference. HDC seems to think so. That is why they have come up with convoluted way of another Conservative Stealth Tax. This fiddling with the Council Tax bands brings in another £150,000 a year.

What is the calculation the other way round? Band D at 40 pence would mean a Band C of 35.5 pence. This would mean a drop in expected income of £150,000 a year. The use of this calculation is outrageous. It would be OK if they used Band C in all official documents but HDC cannot because Band D is official average. HDC should hang its head in shame at the use of this calculation. It is a disgrace. But something I've come to expect from Conservative run HDC.

4.6 Referenda. The report says that a referendum would "a significant administrative burden" How do you work that out. You run elections each year? How undemocratic of HDC! And would "Have an uncertain outcome". Council speak for we will lose a referendum!
6.2 Statutory services. "A matrix has previously been made available". But not to the public!

6.3 Revenue items - These are some of the cuts.

CCTV to end.
Car Park charges to double by 2014.
Closing Customer Service Centres in St Neots, Yaxley, Ramsey, St Ives
Leisure - Redevelopment of St Ives to go ahead. Moving leisure business to a trust.
Town Centre Partnerships to end.
Councillors Allowances to be reviewed by er.. Councillors.

6.4 Capital

Play equipment - This to be move to the Town Council.
Leisure Centres - St Ives to receive a shed load of money to "improve its profitability". If only it was making a profit in the first place.
Community Facilities grants - Town and Parishes to fund this work.
Transport Strategy - All funding has been deleted including St Neots.

7.1 Saving still required.

In the Government preference there are saving still required to be made.
The dishonourable 40 pence - 45 for Band D council tax payers still has unidentified savings needing to be made.
snrednek says: This budget and MTP is a start. But why lie about the 40 pence rise? I feel this Council is like Hitler in his final days. Stuck in a bunker, grabbing every rumour as truth. Believing against all odds that his armies will still win. This delusion made the defeat even worse for Germany. Yet HDC is following the same course of action. Cuts are coming. Don't live in denial.

This budget and MTP needed to be radical. Instead of waiting to form a Leisure Trust they should do so now.  There should be a radical movement of services to the Town and Parish Councils including the payers - such as car park. This Conservative administration has failed Huntingdonshire and should just go. 

This Council is short on transparency. Get real. Get radical. Get with the Coalition programme.

I've just skimmed this. I'll do more in depth analysis as time goes on.

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