Councillor Baron is amazed at the criticism of policies by the opposition.
Surely that is the reason for an opposition, to bring to account the ruling party, and suggest alternatives, that is what democracy is all about.
Just because the opposition do not agree with the ruling party ,is not always to the detriment of the Council.
In years before Councillor Baron’s inception, the Lib Dems and the Independents have worked with the Labour party to try and improve the council’s policies.
Admittedly,in those days of a Labour Government, the council was awash with money and the reserves were very high.
Since the Coalition Government came to power and the consequential reduction of the funding for local councils, Ashfield and Council Councils have had to manage their affairs with less money, which to a degree they have.
So was the council really efficient in the past????
Councillor Baron says that the opposition gives misguided facts. The following is not misguided, it is the truth.
Provided the council did not increase Council Tax, the Government would give the council £62,000 as a ‘freeze grant’.
Councillor Baron’s Party turned down this offer and opted to get ALL Ashfield District Councils constituents to pay a 1.9%increase, amounting to £98,000
Since elected members have been immune from cutbacks and job losses I did propose that each member reduce their basic allowance of £6,585 to £5,000 which still keeps Ashfield District Councillors next to the top in all of Nottinghamshire’s District Councils.
In fact Ashfield ,at the moment is 44% higher in allowances than Gedling who receive £3,685
Bassetlaw receives £4,628
Broxtowe receives £3,704
Erewash receives £3,972
Rushcliffe receives £4,476
and Mansfield would be the highest on £6,248
The savings from the 33 members ( don’t forget next year there will be 35 members so more money from the council tax) would amount to £42,444,which when added to the freeze grant of £62,000 would total £104,444,thus allowing the council not to ask for any Council Tax increase and also help to keep a top class heritage officer in post.
Putting it another controversial way ,it could be said that the Council Tax imposed by the ruling Labour Party just about pays for the loss of £82,000 that the District Council’s canteens cost for its workers.
Don’t get me wrong ,I have nothing against canteens as long as it pays for itself. Incidently Mansfield District Council have no canteen facilities,they use vending machines.
In this day of austerity and cut backs,how can a Council defend a £82,000 subsidy to a staff canteen and in the same breath cut front line services?
Councillor Ray Buttery
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