Eveleigh Moore-Dutton has given us a piece to use – it is reproduced verbatim below;
“Council Tax for 2019
Currently I am wrestling with the 2019 budget setting that will determine our council tax. It is not an easy task, it requires a lot of reading and asking of questions and thinking. The Labour Administration is proposing a 4.9% increase which will be pretty much the national average given rising demands for children’s and elderly care budgets set against the government-imposed cap. The Opposition has expressed “disappointment” in the size of the increase but has not published any alternatives that I can find.
You will soon be told that residents’ main concerns are with emptying bins, cutting grass, cleaning the streets and dealing with fly-tipping and littering but I think this is only half the story. While these services are undoubtedly important, I believe that we are all very concerned about the growing number of children needing protection from abuse or neglect across the borough. Every child only gets one go at childhood.
Home to school transport budgets are also under severe strain as well.
I believe we care too, about the ever-growing number of elderly people – our family members or neighbours – who need basic daily assistance with dressing, eating, washing, isolation and loneliness. The number of people suffering from dementia is rising and must be taken into account.
We need safer roads; across the rural roads of this ward there are some shocking roads that will continue to deteriorate unless something is done soon. Here in Utkinton I am especially aware of the dreadful condition of John Street, Tirley Lane, Knight’s Lane … When I have waded through the budget, I find that there are worrying proposals to cut the budgets of Highways, Environment and Neighbourhood Services by £285,000 p.a. This doesn’t sound, to me, like our roads are going to see the much-needed improvements soon!
I would like to propose that the council should not cut the Highways budget but that it would be better to cut out the unloved District Advisory Panel meetings and the unnoticed “Talking Together” Council Newspaper. I would also like to see a proper consideration of whether the Council really needs to own three golf courses. They do offer exercise opportunities and, no doubt, earn some rental income but are they really necessary? I would prefer to see investment in improving pavements so that our older residents in particular, will feel safe walking in the village!
I am certain that there are other efficiencies and savings that can be made but they are always relatively small and take time to deliver; the needs are immediate and pressing.