Saturday, 17 January 2009

Tenbury Town Council Precept Meeting

This coming Monday, Tenbury Town Council will discuss the precept charge for the next financial year. (See for full details)

At the moment, Tenbury Wells is the second most expensive (in Council Tax terms) place to live in the Malvern Hills District Council area.

Last year Tenbury's increase was in the region of 7% (against a very low rate of inflation). This year the increase is likely to be in the 4% to 7% range.

The Pump Rooms are now owned and maintained by the Town Council and additional funds will need to be raised for the regular and ongoing costs of maintaining this facility.

(Also see letters page of this weeks Tenbury Advertiser - Seems that I am not alone in my concerns)

In common with their other facilities such as the Community Centre, The Regal, the Tennis and Bowling Facilities, these assets are increasingly expensive to run, whilst usage and therefore income appears to be diminishing.

Excerpt from a previous blog on Council expenditure below.

The purpose of a Town Council is to raise a precept and provide services and facilities for the public. Perhaps we cannot expect these services and facilities to be run on a commercial basis to make a profit or to break even, but at what point does the cost of a facility used by a small minority become unacceptable. For instance when does the public subsidy of a game of Tennis become too much? 50p? £5? £50?

Due to the way public records are kept and published it is almost impossible to say how much the Town Council subsidise each game of Tennis or each Game of Bowls, but we can see that the income from all the Sports and Recreation facilities (plus the Cemetery) is in the region of £6,000, where as the expenditure is nearing £22,000. The income from the Bowling appears to be in the region of £1,000, but the cost of the Green Maintenance alone is in excess of £3,000.

In the last year that figures were available, 50% of the money raised through the precept was spent on wages.

The Town Council are our elected representatives, but we should all take an interest in what they do. After all we pay for it.

Read the original blog entry : Ask not what your Council does for you.


Anonymous said...

Nothing short of ‘scandalous’ would any business expect a year on year a contribution of £1000 versus a spend / cost of £3000 just in one department (Bowling Green). Total culmination of income 6k outgoing 22k across this area!

We who are paying for this ‘shambolic’ management should not be ‘taking an interest’ in what the council and the management of this ‘sports and recreation’ department are doing we should be tabling a ‘vote of no confidence’ in these totally unacceptable individuals failing to manage of our money!

Anonymous said...

Let us be clear: the renovation of the Pump Rooms was funded on the basis of them being aTOURIST ATTRACTION. Look what has happened: while Malvern Hills District Council owned them, they were normally locked at the weekends, making it impossible for most tourists to see inside them, and now that Tenbury Town Council owns them, they are locked nearly all the time. The message is clear: if you are a Council, you can get grants to create tourist attractions, but once you've got the money, you don't have to actually let the tourists in!

Anonymous said...

And most of this councils business is ‘behind locked /closed doors’!

Anonymous said...

County and District Councils are required to provide "Best Value" - parish councils (including Tenbury Town Council) are not.
County and District Councils are liable for capping if they try to raise the precept by 'too much' - again, parish councils are not.

@WR15 said...

The council have a difficult job. Everyone wants something for nothing whilst the costs continue to mount up. Some costs are unavoidable, but others are controllable. For instance the Council appears to overspend on their website. They have massive functionality but only use a fraction of it, so why pay such a premium price. Times are tough. There is no point holding out for advertising revenue, its just not coming. The Regal and The Pump Rooms are wonderful assets but also major liabilities. They must be made to work. The councillors are volunteers and the Town Clerk already has enough to do, but these assets must be made to pay. The Pump Rooms are unique and with vision and commitment they could be a major Tourist destination. Whilst they are not Blenhiem Palace or Chatsworth House, they could still draw tourists on day trips from across the West Midlands. Rather than construct a Sensory Garden that almost no one will see, spend the money on opening up and promoting the Pump Rooms using professional help. Part of the Lottery Grant application is to employ a Heritage Access Officer. This is a good thing. The Regal, has a great History and a unique interior. We have lost Temeside House due to lack of commitment and vision by Malvern Hills Council, lets hope the Town Council can keep their expenses under control whilst helping to regenerate the town with partnership working and by attracting the Tourist pound.

Anonymous said...

The Pump Rooms used to have Open Days for people to see them