Council Meeting 22/01/13

We had to make a decision tonight regarding council tax support for those in what we call vulnerable groups.  Only a little more than half turned out in this cold snowy night.

There were 4 choices considered by the Executive and put forward to the full council, and to be voted on tonight. We are under a deadline to have agreement to how we move forward by the Central Government.  If we fail to agree then a default scheme would kick in that is draconian in nature and would adversely affect all residents of the Borough.  The deputy leader of the council, Richard Brooks presented the case that we should accept the 4th of the four options.  If you want to see the detail, you need to log onto the Council’s web site, as there are many dozens of pages of detail that are too long to go into now…

The foundation of the whole thing is that all residents will be affected by whatever happens. Cllr Bates (leader of the opposition) put up a very stout rebuttal to the case put forward by the deputy leader. Most of it was based on the large number of his residents on the Old Dean who he feels just will not be able to pay, regardless of circumstance.  His proposal is that we should take the 2nd of the 4 proposals.  The only actual difference between the two is that the maximum relief that can be claimed is 70% of the base rate (Band D).  Exclusions are there for all the disabled and “at risk” residents.
So what’s the difference from the past? Well, 2 things really: everyone has to pay something going forward, and a framework is put in place to go forward.  One that can be altered as we go…  No matter what we do, no one wants to pay more, not even one pound more, especially me…
Seeing what goes on in the council, up close and personal, there is still some incredibly distasteful waste by this council… My personal pet peeves (today) as we consider this issue:
  • An amazing number of council employees have “company cars” or car allowances at a time when we can’t afford that sort of largesse
  • This whilst the revenues for the rents on our precious Atrium coming in at one third of what they put forward… In the commercial world you’d get fired in a shot, not given a cost-of-living raise.  In our little Frimley High Street shop, my wife has had to work without any salary for a year because business is on its butt, all the time we pay £662/month in Business Council Taxes
  • We Councillors have to have all the papers that we have to consider every week printed and specially delivered in special pouches. All while the papers are all posted on the web site an easily down-loadable by all.  So why they do waste so many thousands of pounds doing this?  Is it because Councillors are just too lazy to do it?  I’ve tried to get them to stop sending me this waste for over a year, can they ever get it straight? Not so far…
  • We have some massive reserves in the bank, and the council needs to understand that all that money is the taxpayers, not the council’s…
So, how did I vote? For the 4th of the 4 options where we know what are costs are…

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