Anston Parish Council in common with every other council in England and Wales has to manage its finances responsibly. It is essential that the council is seen to provide value for money. This means ensuring that public money is spent efficiently to provide an effective service. The aim is to get more council activity for the least possible expense without compromising quality. The council assesses ‘value for money’ by regularly asking whether it is really necessary to spend the money or whether it can find a way of doing it better. Can another supplier do the job with greater efficiency and effectiveness?. It is also good practice to consult the wider community to find out what they think. (Having said that only 73 people from Anston have bothered to fill in the questionnaire-published in the council newsletter-asking for residents views on the parish council budget proposals) The Government is considering ways in which the community can have more influence over local council budgets in accordance with the principles of the Localism Act 2011.
It is too easy to copy the last Labour administration’s solution to the budget shortfall by increasing the precept (Anston Tax). However if residents want Anston Day (£2,000)* Hanging flower baskets in the village (£7,000) and the community Bonfire Night display (£9,350) to continue then there are no valid reasons why these cannot be sponsored and no reasons why residents should not pay an entrance fee to Anston Festival and the annual Bonfire Night. *It should be noted the previous Labour dominated parish council voted to scrap the funding for Anston Day*
Some parish councils charge between £3 and £8 admission per person for Bonfire Night for the simple reason they need to recoup costs. From this year until 2020 the Bonfire Night events will cost APC £56,100– provided other costs do not rise- and the Hanging flower baskets will cost £40,000. Total = £96,100. If 6000 people go to Anston Bonfire Nights between now and 2020 Anston Parish Council would need to charge each person who attends £9.35 to cover the costs of just this one event, alternatively the scale and scope of the fireworks displays could be reduced to save a minimum of £1,000 every year and everyone who attends could pay a nominal £3.00 admission fee. APC needs to maximise its revenue and using Rackford Meadows for other events (apart from the Steam Rally) such as Dog shows, Gymkhanas, Boot sales and Car shows for example could contribute additional funds to offset the £12,800 annual loan repayments for the 32 acre site.
Anston Parish Council wants to know residents views on spending to depart from the ‘you ask, we give’ mentality of the previous Labour council and to make democracy more effective. The next stage is for residents to actively participate in the budgetary process to discuss spending priorities and put forward spending proposals to the parish council.
It Is Your Money. You Can Help To Decide How It Is Spent.