Everyone is aware we live in a changing world.
This is especially noticeable in the ways which central government is pushing for large County/Unitary and Borough councils to become leaner and more efficient (‘Value for Money’) and as a consequence less money is given to parish councils.
Some LA’s are refusing to pass on the money from the DCLG to parish councils.
Anston Parish Council has frozen the precept (Anston Tax) for 2016/2017 to reduce the financial burden on residents and has identified other costs which, if not controlled will leave the parish finances with a deficit which can only be eliminated by either raising the precept every year, getting rid of some services and/or reducing the workload of the groundstaff.
Parish Councils may only spend public money on projects or actions for which they have a Statutory Power. Breaking this rule is likely to result in a Parish Councils accounts being refused by the auditor and, possibly, the individual councillors being required to repay the money illegally expended. There is still, as there was in 1894, (The Local Government Act 1894) only one power which the Parish Council must consider using and that is to “provide allotments for the labouring poor”, if asked for them. All other powers are voluntary – the Parish Council is not obliged to exercise them and indeed the majority would find it difficult to raise enough money to exercise them all on a permanent basis. Parish Councils are funded by a small part of the council tax and get no general government grant, so they have every incentive to ensure that they give and get value for money.
Here’s the Challenge: Instead of a certain vocal minority carping on about ‘Why doesn’t the parish council do this or that’ or ‘We need a grant for ……’ Why don’t they-and certain keyboard warriors (You know who you are)- and other concerned residents try to work with the parish council and offer positive proposals and answers to some of these questions?
What is the maximum grant APC should give to any group?
Should groups be given reduced rates for the main room hire? (Current full rate is £25 per hour)
Should any group be given free room hire?
How much should be spent on Bonfire Night celebrations?
What other events (apart from the Steam Rally and VW Club show) could be held on Rackford Meadows to offset the £12,800 pa interest payments?
Should RMBC or APC have responsibilities for all grass cutting in Anston?
This list of questions is not exhaustive.
Something to bear in mind; We all want a new parish hall that will be spacious, energy efficient and with better facilities. The money for it has to come from somewhere and although a grant might be available the parish council does not have unlimited funds to initiate a new building programme.
Hence the Challenge.
Control costs, find new income streams or keep raising the precept?
Your Money.Your Choice.