Monday, December 19, 2011

Why is the Town council paying for CCTV?

I don't understand why the Town Council feels it should contribute to the District Council owned CCTV system. The first item was to find out is where the CCTV cameras in St Neots are located. HDC provided me with the following information.

1. A map:
2. There locations:
Most of these are public spaces. The yellow ones are covering District owned car parks. One covers the skateboard park on the District owned Riverside Park.

Only one of these 13 CCTV cameras covers Town Council land and that is Shady Walk. So why are we paying for these cameras? Basically because the owners (HDC) is running out of money and rather than close the system they get there Town Council to pay up half the costs for St Neots.

There is a case for doing this. The Town Council wants the CCTV system to continue. It helps the keep the Town Centre secure plus catch criminals and anti-social behaviour.

The arguments against the Town Council paying for CCTV are also numerous:

1. These CCTV concentrate only on the Town Centre. So the people of Eynesbury, Eaton Socon and many other parts of St Neots are paying for a service which doesn't cover them.

2. St Neots Town Centre is used by many residents from outside St Neots for shopping and services. Yet these don't pay for this service via their Town/Parish Councils. Only via HDC Council Tax which St Neots residents also pay.

3. Quite a few of these CCTV cameras are on District Council land and cover District Council run Car Parks. The District Council derives an income from these car parks. The Town Council doesn't.

4. HDC owns these cameras and should pay for the whole cost rather than taxing the Council taxpayer via the Town Council.

Whilst I could dream up some more but those arguments will do.

These CCTV cameras are owned and run by HDC. They are there for all residents of HDC and not specific residents who use the Town Centre. They protect HDC assets and yet St Neots is being taxed by stealth to pay for these cameras.

I say as HDC owns these cameras and many of the locations they cover then HDC should pay for them and tax all residents for this privilege. Why should all St Neots Council taxpayers pay extra for these cameras? Only to keep the District Council tax down and the St Neots Council tax higher than it should be!

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