Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cllr Bureaucrat and the Budget of Doom

Back to the demesne for another Parish Council meeting last night, with a packed agenda and a Chair keen to finish early so that he could catch "I'm a Celebrity, get me away from Jordan!", or whatever it's called.

An issue of interest to villagers is the introduction of taxi metering by Mid Suffolk District Council, and given that I've noticed the effective fare increase, I thought that it was right to question our District Councillor, Caroline Byles, on the subject, only to get an answer that I hadn't expected. She claims that an amendment moved by the Green Party group and passed by the appropriate committee has added to the fare charged to those whose journey starts from somewhere other than the town.

This raises two questions. Firstly, Mid Suffolk is a Conservative-run council, so why are the Greens winning votes? Second, where was the consultation, or even the announcement? As a Parish Council, we might well have had something to say on the subject. In any event, I'm keen to find out what really happened. Allied to the advice from Suffolk County Council that we can't have a bus stop for the village, it's been a bad week for public transport in Creeting St Peter.

Our first discussion of the budget was a gentle one. There is a difference of opinion as to what we should be attempting to do, and how we fund that. I am a cautious soul, and am uncomfortable about spending other people's money without their tacit approval. It would be fair to say that my view is not universally shared, but we have agreed to consider our options and make a final decision at the next meeting.

I'm looking at the budget on a line by line basis, adhering to the principle of 'value for money' - which doesn't necessarily mean the cheapest option - as I'd rather spend our limited funds on things that actually make a difference. Besides, I have a duty of care, don't I?

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