Councillor Alan Goggin
- Last full Council TDC meeting Jan 8. Emergency meeting to settle discussion re including Maintenance payments in assessment process for housing benefits. AG voted in favour of including Many abstentions..
- Partial Night Street Lighting. As a follow up from previous meeting – TDC are consulting and have asked many affected groups for facts and recommendations. Appears to be more of a concern in Town areas (Clacton & Harwich) rather than rural (Brightlingsea, Gt Bentley etc.). Noticeable that several smaller councils pay for some of their own lights and charge local residents accordingly. As an example a band D house pays TDC £136. In Brightlingsea the precept is an additional £53 whereas in Gt Bentley and Alresford the additional figures are £100 & £54 respectively. As a yard-stick the cheapest in the area is £28 from Wrabness & the most expensive is £100 from Alresford. Something to think about especially as we are 22% cheaper than Colchester.
- Partial lighting is not just an Essex CC issue. Many Councils have made a similar decision and some have run for a longer period. I personally have been asked to look at the slight alteration to Fridays and Saturdays as mentioned previously. Still save 5 hours – but a different start time. Also preparing a request for lights affecting care homes etc. Working with Cllr J Chapman and may have something to report.
- After the emergency TDC meeting the cabinet will meet and probably intends to propose a zero percent increase in rates for the TDC portion for 2015/2016. Also proposed was a freeze in costs on some key issues for our Brightlingsea residents. No increase for swimming pools, gyms, sports pitches, most licences. This is still subject to final approval at full Council.
- As mentioned at the Finance meeting there is further news regarding the paddling pool. The firm to carry out the bid preparation is being briefed.As explained on several occasions the Town Council may be asked to reconsider their earlier instructions to divert funds from the Paddling pool budget to the swimming pool budget. Some has been spent on the pool but an amount remains unspent and unlikely to be spent on improvements. This needs to be discussed alongside the spending of section 106 monies. As mentioned last month there are probably 2 good Brightlingsea projects that are chasing the one “pot of money” and Council may be asked their opinion as to which is most important and advantageous to the Town
- Following last months successful bid to the “Big Society Fund from the Bowls Club – they have their money and are starting work very soon. Nice letter of appreciation from them. There is another bid of a similar nature by the Cricket Club. It was given a first stage approval and is due to be discussed again on February 6, following some suggested amendments. As both groups operate from (effectively) council run grounds this is a good improvement for the town’s residents. I am Chairman of the Big Society Fund.
- In my capacity as Portfolio holder for Finance I confirm that it is going to be more and more difficult to find year on year savings. In the last 5 years and the next 1 year the total savings are £27.9 million. Carrying them forward every year has reduced to net budget to £14.53 million from where it was £21.94 million in 2010. A reduction of £9.1 million since 2011/12. These savings have not used reserves or the new home bonus. Some other district Councils are in real trouble.
- As always I would be interested to hear from any Councillors or residents with ideas about generating and saving more money in the district. The cabinet meet formally or informally every week and if there are any Brightlingsea Issues that you would like me to especially raise – please feel free to ask.
- Not sure right place to report but negotiated with TDC & ECC regarding the sighting of the Mobile Library Bus for several Saturdays in January. Successful use of Town Hall car park.
- Attended Corporate Management (Jan 5) to provide overall view of Cabinet. Cllr Steady as Chairman may have a separate report.
Councillor Graham Steady
Attended Corporate Management Meeting on the 5th January to scrutinise the current financial position and also the proposed budget for 2015/2016. Another meeting planned for the end of February on an informal workshop basis to formulate ideas for future budgets, bearing in mind that there are elections due in May which could change the make-up of the administration.
Attended Full Council Meeting on 8th January to decide on the LCTSS and whether child maintenance should be taken into consideration for claimants. The administration proposed that child maintenance would not be included, which was duly passed. Councillor Chapman and myself supported the administration in what we view as protecting venerable families. Interestingly enough there seemed to be a free vote, not only did members of the administration support the motion but some voted against, and some abstained.