Published: March 2, 2010
Burnham-On-Sea town council warned over Sedgemoor cash shortfall

Sedgemoor District Council bosses visited Burnham-On-Sea on Monday (March 1st) and issued a stark warning on future funding of local public services.

Alison Griffin, Corporate Director at Sedgemoor District Council, and Council Leader Duncan McGinty (pictured) attended a Town Council meeting, where they said government funding caps had left the provision of some local services in jeopardy.

They added that Burnham and Highbridge Town Council would be increasingly asked to fund more public services in the town.

Mrs Griffin explained: "We are facing severe budget caps and therefore negotiations are needed with town and parish councils across the district to explore whether they can take over some discretionary services."

The proposals raised concern among several Burnham councillors, including Cllr Ken Smout, who said: "We're being asked to take on extra services without any extra money. I don't intend to be cynical, but it appears that we are being asked to fail together."

However, Cllr Eric Gill told Monday's meeting: "If the Town Council and parishes don't put money into a collective pot, they will be able to do very little individually to save local services."

Cllr Neville Jones asked Mrs Griffin whether the Town Council could expect to receive a small proportion of local business rates to help fund local services in the future.

"Even as little as one per cent of the local business rates could significantly help us in running local service," he said.

Mrs Griffin said all avenues would be explored over coming months, adding that a meeting is being arranged for May when local parish and town councils will be invited to discuss the proposals and start the job of "establishing what local services are viewed as important and which are not."

Pictured are Alison Griffin, Corporate Director at Sedgemoor District Council, and Council Leader Duncan McGinty at Monday's Town Council meeting


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