Monday, 31 December 2007

Goodbye 2007! (in BFP stories, using the search word "Council")


Council Tax is set to rise by 4.5%

It is less for more as Suffolk County Council unveiled proposals for an inflation-busting tax rise at the same time as announcing cuts to services. Hang on - the RPI in April was 4.5%!


Council 'must support our museum bid'

A group looking to buy and re-open the Manor House Museum has suggested that the council must accept its bid if it is to support the town's World Heritage Status bid.
The Bury St Edmunds Heritage Group has put in one of five tenders in a bid to buy the former museum from St Edmundsbury Borough Council.The heritage group and Bury Society, which backs the bid, have remained coy about the financial level of their offer – the council has revealed that bids vary from £1 to £1.4 million – all falling short of the £1.5 million asking price.

Wonder what their offer was...? The world heritage bid was actually a mischievous kite flown by a leading member of the group and never taken up by the council.


Councils get smoke ban cash

Cash being spent by councils on training inspectors to enforce no smoking legislation has been branded a waste of money. From July 1, district council environmental health officers will help to enforce a Government ban on lighting up in enclosed public areas, such as pubs and shops. About £173,000 has been allocated by ministers to St Edmundsbury, Breckland, Mid Suffolk and Forest Heath councils for training staff and producing information leaflets.

Nobody foresaw the problem for neighbours of drinking establishments.


Election shock

Nominations for next month's local elections closed this week – with some surprising new candidates and other local government stalwarts stepping down. A party established to bring down Bury St Edmunds Town Council has already gained five unopposed seats on the town council, without a single vote being cast.The Abolish Bury Town Council Party (ABC) has an additional 12 candidates fighting for the remaining 12 seats.

Didn't they do well - or did they?


Uproar at town council meeting

Heated scenes marked the first meeting of Bury St Edmunds Town Council since the elections.
Police stood guard at the tense encounter as Roy Bebbington, founder of the Abolish Bury Town Council Party (ABC), which swept to power in the May elections, was voted in as town mayor before immediately rejecting the title at Wednesday night's meeting.


Council to go – but lights shine

A town council in Bury St Edmunds is set to start winding down after councillors voted to push ahead with its abolition – but members have agreed to run this year's Christmas lights.
At a heated meeting on Monday, a minority of councillors fought unsuccessfully to keep Bury Town Council afloat and save some of its powers, including supporting voluntary organisations.

Wasn't there any other council news?


Ex-mayor wins seat on council

A former St Edmundsbury mayor has won a place on Bury St Edmunds Town Council – after a vacancy was uncontested.

Stefan Oliver - who sits on Bury's three councils.


Borough collects extra £338,000 in Council Tax

Collection of Council Tax in St Edmundsbury borough is the sharpest in Suffolk, with an extra £338,000 paid this year. The figures, released by public services union GMB, show uncollected Council Tax for St Edmundsbury Borough Council had dropped from £765,000 in 2005/6 to £427,000 in 2006/7, the biggest drop in the county.

At last something NOT about the town council - and good news too!


'Choices must be made'

A finance chief has denied St Edmundsbury Borough Council is spreading itself too thin by investing major funds into capital projects. The council is investing £56 million over the next four years in schemes such as the Cattle Market development, Public Service Village (PSV), leisure centre improvements and Haverhill cinema.Now, it is facing the challenge of having to make £2.25 million of savings through cuts and increased charges by 2011.

And this year's target has been met.


Complaints on the rise

The number of complaints made to St Edmundsbury Borough Council has gone up for the first time in two years. But the council has also been praised by members of the public – one took the trouble to thank its Council Tax staff for a 'brilliant service'.The council has seen the number of complaints more than double from 11 between October 2006 and March this year, to 28 between April and September.

Only 28 out of about 100,000 residents?


£400,000 parking shortfall

Wet weather has been blamed as a major factor for a £400,000 shortfall in income from St Edmundsbury Borough Council's car parks. But the council still expects to end the year £418,000 better off.The figures were revealed in a budget monitoring report to the council's performance and audit scrutiny committee on Monday.


Costs treble for publicity

Money spent on publicity by Forest Heath District Council has more than trebled over the last 10 years despite rises in Council Tax, according to a report published on Tuesday.
A survey by the Taxpayers' Alliance (TPA), which lists the amount every local authority pays out for publicity, revealed the district council's bill rose by 232.3 per cent – from £53,868 in 1996-97 to £179,000 in 2006-07.Despite the figures not accounting for inflation, the council's increase in publicity spending soars above the national average of 130 per cent, despite having one of the smallest populations, and in comparison to larger neighbouring authorities, such as Breckland District Council whose costs have risen by 188.9 per cent, and St Edmundsbury Borough Council which has recorded a 19.6 per cent increase.

Happy New Year to you all!

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