Friday, 4 October 2013

Mabe - Budget Meeting, 3rd October

Mabe Last Night

Attended the Mabe Budget event last night - 2 Council officers, 6 Cornwall Councillors and 12 good and true members of the public.

I had to leave early but by the time I left I no-one had suggested any Council services they would like to be cut - the fundamental question that Cllr Folkes was asking- although someone suggested moving to fortnightly bin collections.

A participant asked Cllr Folkes to consider again whether savings could be made by not building an incinerator. Another committee is going to look at this but Cornwall Waste Forum's consultants have still not said why they think residual waste (left after maximum recycling) would go to landfill with tax at £2 a ton. Everybody else advises that it would be £80 a ton, which would drive a coach and horse through their savings.

Someone suggested more use of video conferencing etc to reduce business mileage. This is a proposal that I have made on a number of occasions.

It was suggested that staff be allowed to go part time to save money. Apparently they can if they are over 55 years old.

No one had suggested cutting the number of councillors by the time I left. It is perfectly true that this is not in our power. However, the point made by a member of the public at a previous meeting was that the costs of councillors are much greater than our allowances/expenses. There are the more indirect expenses - for example, many meetings attended by numerous highly paid officers. We would have more concept of the value of officers' time if we measured what it costs the Cornish taxpayer.

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