Big Homework Weekend For Councillors – And For Some Of Our Readers?

District Councillors have some important reading this weekend.

On Tuesday 29th we have an Extraordinary Council Meeting to discuss the council’s finances. “Extraordinary” doesn’t mean “Emergency” – it just means we can’t discuss anything else except finance matters.

You can find all the reports here, including the


  • Draft Financial statement for 2009/10,
  • (how we actually spent money last year)

  • Capital Programme for 2010/11
  • (what projects we are spending money on this year)

  • Treasury Management Report
  • (where the council has invested it’s money this year – it used to be a matter of getting the best interest rate, now you have to avoid dodgy banks)

    Now , councillors have been asked to ask their questions in advance.

    We know that we have a few financial wizards who read onlinefocus. If anybody wants to download the reports themselves and come up with their own questions, send them to us before Monday evening and we will pass them on (without giving the council your name).

    To start you off, here’s some stuff on page 5.2 of the Draft Financial Statement:

    Paragraph 5.2 : The council received ?42,000 more in planning fees than originally expected. On the other hand, car parking income is ?70,000 below what was expected.

    Paragraph 5.3 “The Balance Sheet, which reports the assets and liabilities for the Authority, is
    showing a decrease in net worth of nearly ?7m. This is primarily due to the
    fall in investment balance which fell from ?9.6m to ?4.8m due to use of funds
    for revenue and capital expenditure. The level of cash available for
    investments depends on the cash coming in and going out at any particular
    time. The average balance on investments during the whole year was ?9.5m
    in 2009/10 compared to ?13m for 2008/09.”

    Paragraph 5.4 “The amount that the Council has to set aside as a provision for bad and
    doubtful debts has had to be increased in view of recovery history. The total
    provision, which covers sundry debtors, benefits recoveries, council tax and
    national non-domestic rates, has increased from ?1.17m to ?1.59m.”

    Paragraph 5.5
    “The Pension Liability and matching Reserve are showing an increase from
    ?17.47m to ?23.31m.”
    So another 6 Million Poundsmay have to be found towards towards staff pensions.

    Meanwhile on page 22 there’s a list of allowances that councillors received in the last financial year.

    Highest Conservatives for this were Terry Cutmore (?27196 – Council Leader) Mavis Webster (?17368 – plus whatever she claimed as a County Councillor – Deputy Leader) and Tony Humphries (?14932 – Chairman of the Council )

    Highest Lib Dems were June Lumley (?7438 – Chair of the Review Committee) , Chris Black (?6375 – Leader of the Opposition), , Ron Oatham (?4397- Deputy Group Leader)

    And on page 23 there’s a breakdown of senior officers incomes.

    The Chief Executive had a total remuneration of ?132,942 (including pension contributions of ?14,474)
    Two other officers had total remunerations above ?100,000.

    So if you have any questions, please let us know……

  • If parking income was 70K less than expected, do we know why? Does this reflect a drop in visitors to the town centre retailers, are more people walking/using public transport? Is it a drop in income from fines? What is 70K as a percentage of the expected income?

    PS, CAN I HAVE A CAR PARK TICKET MACHINE THAT GIVES CHANGE? Thank you.