IPB

Welcome Guest ( Log In | Register )

5 Pages V   1 2 3 > »   
Reply to this topicStart new topic
> NTC Service Budget, brace yourself for an 11% increase in the precept
Simon Kirby
post Dec 15 2010, 07:07 PM
Post #1


Advanced Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 6,326
Joined: 20-July 10
From: Wash Common
Member No.: 1,011



Newbury Town Council are to approve their service budget on Monday night at the Community Services Committee, and the draft is available in the agenda papers.

  • Expenditure rises 13.0%, and income falls 3.2%. With an inflationary rise in wages that'll produce something like an 11% increase in the precept.
  • Maintenance of the cemeteries is to be outsourced. There isn't enough published detail to say what affect this will have on the precept but it appears the contract adds around £62k to the cemetery costs so it's not obvious that this will actually save money.
  • There is no extra sponsorship for the Christmas Lights with the Town Centre Partnership still contributing just £1k compared to the £50k cost to the tax-payer. The budget says the TCP contribute £5k, but the Council give the TCP £4k of this! Planning for next year's switch on event is underway with the Council keen to cooperate with Standard Life Investments / Parkway development "to ensure effective retail integration", so perhaps they'd also like to pick up the bill.
  • Costs for the market go up 6.2% but charges for pitches increase by a sub-inflationary 2.5% so the current £17.5k cost to the tax-payer of providing the market looks set to increase by more than £4.5k.
  • Good news for the bowls club who's rent stays the same as last year, which was the same as the year before that, and the year before that, ...
  • Allotment rents go up for non-pensioners by 3.75% to pay for a 10% pensioner discount, so altogether a 2% real-terms reduction in allotment revenue. No indication yet that the Council are willing to discuss how self-management can save the tax-payer the £43k direct cost of the service.
  • The cost of the Town Hall is the most out-of-control with the nett direct costs increasing by over 90% as a result of the difficulty in letting the parts of the building that the town council doesn't use and the spiraling costs of maintaining an old building that is ill suited to its present use, so expect to see a 12% increase in the current £59k cost of providing the town hall.


--------------------
Right an injustice - give Simon Kirby his allotment back!
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Exhausted
post Dec 18 2010, 08:52 PM
Post #2


Advanced Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 1,722
Joined: 4-September 09
Member No.: 320



The bad news for the Town Council is that their funds come mainly from the WBC coffers so no matter what they set as their budget, if the district council is not forthcoming and in this climate of cost cutting, they probably won't be, then they will have to find another way of balancing their books. There is no direct taxation for them from the ratepayers. Might have to put the allotment rents up perhaps....
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Simon Kirby
post Dec 18 2010, 08:55 PM
Post #3


Advanced Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 6,326
Joined: 20-July 10
From: Wash Common
Member No.: 1,011



No, they set whatever precept they like.


--------------------
Right an injustice - give Simon Kirby his allotment back!
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Exhausted
post Dec 18 2010, 09:39 PM
Post #4


Advanced Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 1,722
Joined: 4-September 09
Member No.: 320



QUOTE (Simon Kirby @ Dec 18 2010, 08:55 PM) *
No, they set whatever precept they like.


Yes, but it doesn't mean that they will get it....
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Simon Kirby
post Dec 18 2010, 10:00 PM
Post #5


Advanced Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 6,326
Joined: 20-July 10
From: Wash Common
Member No.: 1,011



QUOTE (Exhausted @ Dec 18 2010, 09:39 PM) *
Yes, but it doesn't mean that they will get it....

Err, yes, that's exactly what it means. WBC collect the precept on behalf of NTC but they don't have a choice, they have to ask for exactly what NTC say. Well, actually there is some recent provision for capping a parish precept but to my knowledge it's never been used in the UK yet and I'd be very, very surprised if WBC would invoke it. Edit: Actually I don't think it's come into law yet.


--------------------
Right an injustice - give Simon Kirby his allotment back!
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Simon Kirby
post Dec 24 2010, 02:42 PM
Post #6


Advanced Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 6,326
Joined: 20-July 10
From: Wash Common
Member No.: 1,011



In the end NTC decided not to increase service charges at all this year and the proposal now is not to increase the precept.

A freeze in the precept and service charges might sound like good news but it also means expenditure gets frozen, and as costs naturally increase that could actually mean a cut in the level of maintenance, as while some running costs can't be reduced other maintenance may have to be stopped.

With the allotment service where rents were increased last year by 47%, rather than seeing some much needed capital investment in for example toilets and fencing, the already lamentably poor standard of site maintenance is actually going to get worse still, and the Council make the situation utterly intolerable by suppressing site associations who want to self-manage and preventing allotmenteers from doing their own site maintenance.


--------------------
Right an injustice - give Simon Kirby his allotment back!
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
blackdog
post Dec 24 2010, 07:30 PM
Post #7


Advanced Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 2,945
Joined: 5-June 09
Member No.: 130



They can't win with you can they?

Damned if they raise spending and the precept, damned if they don't.

You have been demanding they make savings - a static budget means that savings will have to be made in order to account for inflation.

Now they are making savings you are claiming they are the wrong savings - even though you don't know where the savings will be made (nor, I suspect, do they).
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
user23
post Dec 24 2010, 07:42 PM
Post #8


Advanced Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 4,025
Joined: 14-May 09
Member No.: 50



QUOTE (Simon Kirby @ Dec 24 2010, 02:42 PM) *
A freeze in the precept and service charges might sound like good news but it also means expenditure gets frozen, and as costs naturally increase that could actually mean a cut in the level of maintenance, as while some running costs can't be reduced other maintenance may have to be stopped.
Hang on. Your whole argument for self management was that they were increasing the rent by far too much, now it's turned round 180 degrees and you're saying it should be self managed (with you running it of course) because they're not increasing the rent enough.

This stinks of one man's vendetta against the Town Council.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Iommi
post Dec 24 2010, 08:59 PM
Post #9


Advanced Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 4,138
Joined: 13-May 09
From: Newbury
Member No.: 20



QUOTE (user23 @ Dec 24 2010, 07:42 PM) *
This stinks of one man's vendetta against the Town Council.

I hope so! tongue.gif
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Simon Kirby
post Dec 27 2010, 10:18 AM
Post #10


Advanced Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 6,326
Joined: 20-July 10
From: Wash Common
Member No.: 1,011



QUOTE (user23 @ Dec 24 2010, 07:42 PM) *
Hang on. Your whole argument for self management was that they were increasing the rent by far too much, now it's turned round 180 degrees and you're saying it should be self managed (with you running it of course) because they're not increasing the rent enough.

This stinks of one man's vendetta against the Town Council.

User, you know well enough that my argument for self-management is based on very much more than a saving in rents. The Council should devolve the allotment service management because self-management creates society, it improves the facilities, it keeps the rents down, and it keep the Council tax down. What they've done is freeze expenditure and revenue, so the only free variable is to cut the service quality, but the Council is grossly inefficient and this is the thing they should be addressing for everyone's sake - service users and tax payers.

Yes, of course I'm happy to run a devolved allotment service. How could I in all reasonableness demand self-management if I wasn't prepared to do the work involved.

I haven't tried to hide my agenda. I'm not inclined to be fobbed off by the Council and I'm not going to stop criticising them until there's nothing left to criticise. That certainly anoys the Council, but I don't think it stinks, though I understand not everyone will approve.


--------------------
Right an injustice - give Simon Kirby his allotment back!
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Simon Kirby
post Dec 27 2010, 10:24 AM
Post #11


Advanced Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 6,326
Joined: 20-July 10
From: Wash Common
Member No.: 1,011



QUOTE (blackdog @ Dec 24 2010, 07:30 PM) *
They can't win with you can they?

Damned if they raise spending and the precept, damned if they don't.

You have been demanding they make savings - a static budget means that savings will have to be made in order to account for inflation.

Now they are making savings you are claiming they are the wrong savings - even though you don't know where the savings will be made (nor, I suspect, do they).

I've been demanding that the Town Council improve on their appalling inefficiency and instigate a Big Society initiative. Yes, that would create a saving, but it would improve the service first and foremost. If the Town Council freeze expenditure and revenue it makes for a good headline - Town Council does the right thing for the tax-payer - but at a cost to the service user, and at no cost to the Council themselves.


--------------------
Right an injustice - give Simon Kirby his allotment back!
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
blackdog
post Dec 27 2010, 10:38 AM
Post #12


Advanced Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 2,945
Joined: 5-June 09
Member No.: 130



QUOTE (Simon Kirby @ Dec 27 2010, 10:24 AM) *
Town Council does the right thing for the tax-payer - but at a cost to the service user, and at no cost to the Council themselves.

What cost to the service user? What service cuts have they announced?
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
user23
post Dec 27 2010, 11:23 AM
Post #13


Advanced Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 4,025
Joined: 14-May 09
Member No.: 50



QUOTE (Iommi @ Dec 24 2010, 08:59 PM) *
I hope so! tongue.gif
laugh.gif
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
user23
post Dec 27 2010, 11:36 AM
Post #14


Advanced Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 4,025
Joined: 14-May 09
Member No.: 50



QUOTE (Simon Kirby @ Dec 27 2010, 10:18 AM) *
I haven't tried to hide my agenda. I'm not inclined to be fobbed off by the Council and I'm not going to stop criticising them until there's nothing left to criticise. That certainly anoys the Council, but I don't think it stinks, though I understand not everyone will approve.
To me it looks like they've listened to you and not increased rents.

There's always going to be something to criticise if start arguing a totally contradictory points, in this case that they should have in fact put up rents as you seem to be saying. It's like campaigning for them to paint the bandstand red and as soon as the paint dries saying it should have been blue.

You're doing one of two things, just having a moan for the sake of it and therefore wasting my tax money in the process or continuing your one man power grab of the allotments, again waiting my tax money unless you do something constructive.

In my view you should organise your formal proposals and organisation for taking over the allotments before you say anything else. You've done your case no good however arguing that rents should be increased and I suspect you'll get little support for this view which it totally opposite to the one you held a couple of weeks ago.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Simon Kirby
post Dec 27 2010, 11:58 AM
Post #15


Advanced Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 6,326
Joined: 20-July 10
From: Wash Common
Member No.: 1,011



QUOTE (blackdog @ Dec 27 2010, 10:38 AM) *
What cost to the service user? What service cuts have they announced?

We won't know how they plan to balance the budget until the agenda for the 10 January Policy and Resources Committee is published, and that meeting may well not agree to freeze the precept and revenue, but if the precept and revenue are frozen as the Council have proposed there are not so very many ways the Council can balance the budget. The only realistic option I can think of that doesn't involve cuts to the service budgets would be to slash the civic budget, but I just don't see them doing it. Cutting service budgets is a good strategy for a self-serving Council because to the casual observer they are making savings, and they also get to blame their hopeless service provision on the cuts - and the people who demanded them!


--------------------
Right an injustice - give Simon Kirby his allotment back!
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Biker1
post Dec 27 2010, 12:34 PM
Post #16


Advanced Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 5,064
Joined: 26-May 09
Member No.: 103



I think you'll find, Simon, that, as has been discussed elsewhere, just as you do not give a stuff about the independent traders, most on here do not give a stuff about the allotments.

As has been said, this is a private vendetta and not for the masses.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Simon Kirby
post Dec 27 2010, 01:08 PM
Post #17


Advanced Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 6,326
Joined: 20-July 10
From: Wash Common
Member No.: 1,011



QUOTE (user23 @ Dec 27 2010, 11:36 AM) *
To me it looks like they've listened to you and not increased rents.

To me it looks like 1. they're coming to terms with the uncomfortable reality that an allotment rent increase is unenforceable under the current contract, and 2. they need to pacify an angry tenantry with a freeze in rents to suppress the growing demands for self-management.

QUOTE (user23 @ Dec 27 2010, 11:36 AM) *
There's always going to be something to criticise if start arguing a totally contradictory points, in this case that they should have in fact put up rents as you seem to be saying. It's like campaigning for them to paint the bandstand red and as soon as the paint dries saying it should have been blue.

You're doing one of two things, just having a moan for the sake of it and therefore wasting my tax money in the process or continuing your one man power grab of the allotments, again waiting my tax money unless you do something constructive.

Straw man. I want the rents to come down, and I want a discount for those less able to pay, but I also want to involve the allotmenteers in their service, and I want to improve the standard of maintenance, and I want a substantial programme of capital investment, most specifically in site toilets and security, and I want all of that with a substantial saving for the tax-payer. It's a package that only self-management can deliver. That the Council have so little financial control that they put the rents up 47% one year and then don't at least iimpose an inflationary increase makes a complete mockery of their management, and monkeys out of the allotmenteers.

Can tell me where the power is that I'm supposed to be grabbing? Have you made the slightest effort to discover how self-management works? My friend The Bloke on the Street is the secretary of a large self-managed association in Norfolk, the least you could do is ask him on this forum for his experience, or you could sign up for an account at Allotments4All and ask the several hundred regular contributors there what their experiences are, or you could read the Fifth Report, or buy a copy of the Local Government Association's allotment management best practive guide Growing in the Community, and if you're a NTC Councillor as I suspect then agree to formal discussions as I've previously proposed and as part of that process I'd be very happy to arrange expenses-paid site visits to self-managed sites for you to see first-hand how self-management works.

QUOTE (user23 @ Dec 27 2010, 11:36 AM) *
In my view you should organise your formal proposals and organisation for taking over the allotments before you say anything else. You've done your case no good however arguing that rents should be increased and I suspect you'll get little support for this view which it totally opposite to the one you held a couple of weeks ago.

Since the Town Council have officially declared me to be a vexatious complainant, and since they resolved on March 1st to not recognise the Wash Common Allotments Society while either I was involved or it had self-management as an implicit aim, and since it also resolved on March 1st to not discuss self-management, and since the Town Council have waged a sustained campaign to marginalise and intimidate me and suppress the allotment society then I suggest the problem here is the Town Council. I have made a specific proposal to the Town Council to take self-management forward through discussion, so when the Town Council puts right what for the last three years it's made as wrong as it could, then I'll be happy to discuss self-management on the terms I've already proposed.


--------------------
Right an injustice - give Simon Kirby his allotment back!
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Iommi
post Dec 27 2010, 01:21 PM
Post #18


Advanced Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 4,138
Joined: 13-May 09
From: Newbury
Member No.: 20



QUOTE (Biker1 @ Dec 27 2010, 12:34 PM) *
I think you'll find, Simon, that, as has been discussed elsewhere, just as you do not give a stuff about the independent traders, most on here do not give a stuff about the allotments. As has been said, this is a private vendetta and not for the masses.

I have a sentimental affiliation to allotments; I used help my Grandad with one when I was a little boy. I also believe they help to prevent environments becoming just one big concrete slab, something I would not like to see.

That being said, if all what Simon Kirkby says is true, I say all power to him. It seems to me, the council, user23, et al, are simply out argued at every juncture. Indeed, user23, himself, has no argument at all. He is simply trying his best to discredit him without any tangible rationalé whatsoever. Besides, Simon punches way above user23's weight when it comes to an argument.

Perhaps that is what the problem is, no-one like a smart a$$! tongue.gif
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Bofem
post Dec 27 2010, 01:24 PM
Post #19


Advanced Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 485
Joined: 28-May 10
From: Newbury
Member No.: 924



Good news Simon is that you can soon put your ideas to the public vote when the Localism Bill goes comes into effect next summer.

From what I can gather, it's about to become a lot easier for us to defeat the ideas of out-of-touch councillors. NTC simply won't be able to hold on to the allotments if local people want to run it themselves.


--------------------
Newbury's #1 ill-informed internet poster
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Simon Kirby
post Dec 27 2010, 01:26 PM
Post #20


Advanced Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 6,326
Joined: 20-July 10
From: Wash Common
Member No.: 1,011



QUOTE (Biker1 @ Dec 27 2010, 12:34 PM) *
I think you'll find, Simon, that, as has been discussed elsewhere, just as you do not give a stuff about the independent traders, most on here do not give a stuff about the allotments.

Sure, I've seen that point of view expressed. It's why a freeze in the precept will sound like a good idea to many people. You need to be a service user to see that it's a bit more complicated than that.

QUOTE (Biker1 @ Dec 27 2010, 12:34 PM) *
As has been said, this is a private vendetta and not for the masses.

I guess it might come over like that. I've been as honest and open as I can be, so you've seen what I'm asking for and you've seen how I'm asking for it. I'm happy that what I'm demanding is right, and I'm happy that I'm doing it in a fair and responsible manner. I am critical, and determined, and what I'm asking for is radical, and I don't have a single other allotmenteer who actively supports either my cause or approach. I guess I prefer crusade to vendetta, but I concede the distinction's fine. I'm sorry I haven't won your support.


--------------------
Right an injustice - give Simon Kirby his allotment back!
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post

5 Pages V   1 2 3 > » 
Reply to this topicStart new topic
1 User(s) are reading this topic (1 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)
0 Members:

 

Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 27th January 2022 - 01:35 AM