October 28, 2010
Town Council gives £40,000 lifeline to public services
at Burnham and Highbridge Town Council have this week voted in
favour of spending more than £40,000 to keep public toilets
open in the two towns and dog waste bins emptied in the wake of huge spending cuts.
follows a plea from cash-strapped Sedgemoor District Council for
the town council to contribute towards the cost of maintaining
various threatened public services.
first reported in August
that Sedgemoor District Council had called on local town and parish
councils to contribute towards the cost of public loos, dog waste
bins and halls as it faces huge cuts.
Corporate Director Alison Griffin met with town councillors earlier
this month to discuss which services it may be prepared to take
at this week's meeting of the Town Council's Policy and Finance
Committee in Burnham's council chambers, pictured, councillors
cautiously agreed to take on half of Sedgemoor's costs for public
loos and emptying dog waste bins.
Chris Williams warned: "I am concerned that if we agree to
take on some of the costs now that they could well rise year by
year in the future as we increase our burden."
Cllr Ken Smout added: "It worries me that we're considering
taking on each service individually when it would be cheaper to
look at the bigger picture and include several services as part
of a wider agreement. We need a long term strategy in place for
dealing with this, not a short-term solution."
Clerk Eileen Shaw said putting in place a long-term strategy would
not be possible until after next May's local elections: "Any
strategy we put in place now will need to be fully re-considered
by the new council next Spring."
Dennis Davey said there are "potential savings" to be
made by teaming up with other parish councils. "Brent Knoll
and East Brent Parish Councils are among several that are interested
in working together with us to jointly run local services,"
Peter Burridge-Clayton welcomed the news that the cost of emptying
dog waste bins had fallen from the costs quoted by Sedgemoor earlier
in the month.
pleased the cost has come down to a more reasonable level of £24,000
per year, which is far less than the earlier quote."
proposed that the town council give £12,000 of annual funding
to Sedgemoor to help with half its costs. The proposal was seconded
by Cllr Davey on the condition that a longer-term strategy is
put in place. Councillors voted in favour.
second vote was taken on whether to provide £32,500 to Sedgemoor
as a contribution to its annual costs of keeping public toilets
maintained and open in Burnham and Highbridge. Again, the committee
voted in favour using money from the town council's reserves.
decisions are subject to a final vote by councillors at next week's
full town council meeting.