Report reveals council budget plans

By a County Press reporter

Friday, January 31, 2014

 

THE INTRODUCTION of foot passenger floating bridge charges, increased leisure centres fees and merging the fire service with a mainland counterpart could be on the cards as the Isle of Wight Council looks to save £28 million over the next three years.

The proposals have been outlined in a report published today (Friday), ahead of next month's full council meeting, when the budget will be set.

However, proposals for more on-street parking charges and to axe the blue badge scheme have been scrapped.

Today's report proposed a council tax freeze for the coming year, but warned that a rise of more than 2 per cent could be considered the following year, which would spark a referendum.

An Island-wide residents' parking permit that could start in April and cost £295 for a year, £150,000 to support pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programmes and help over 50s start businesses, and an investment of £340,000 a year to Visit Isle of Wight, have all been proposed.

The report suggested further savings could be through a staff reshuffle and merging of functions, as well as town and parish councils taking over services the Isle of Wight Council could no longer afford.  

Council leader Ian Stephens said: "The scale of savings we are facing has meant that this has been an extremely difficult budget to put together.

"Our priorities have been developed by going out into the community and listening to what our residents, town and parish councils, businesses and partner organisations have to say.

"Coupled with our detailed root and branch reviews of council services, this has enabled us to put forward a budget, which in very difficult financial times, makes the very best use of our resources for the benefit of the Isle of Wight."

The report is due to be considered by the council’s scrutiny panels next week, before going before cabinet on Tuesday, February 11, followed by full council for adoption on Wednesday, February 26.

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Displaying the last 10 of 139 comments - Show All Comments

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by roger mazillius

4th February 2014, at 08:56:01

Just thought, 138 comments to date but is that really 138 more than the same thread on the Ventnor site? Amazing how even anonymous cowards can be even more cowardly when their "friends" are exposed!

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by roger mazillius

4th February 2014, at 08:53:58

probably exists regarding Cllr Priest and The Riverside Centre. Is it true that you intend waiving the legally payable rent which apart from being a very necessary income stream for the Council in these financially difficult times is especially so because that building was built with prudential borrowing by the Council to meet it's capital contribution and the rent is a vital part of re-paying that borrowing!
As Cllr Priest is (I assume still) the salaried Riverside Manager, just how handy is that for him not to have to pay the lawful rent? And has he like Cllr Stubbings kept his mouth firmly closed at all times when this financial benefit was discussed.
I think we should be told!

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by roger mazillius

4th February 2014, at 08:46:24

Phil. Ok, so it appears to have come down to semantics re the state of play re VWG. Presumably however, if the contract is not fulfilled by the three years, even you guys will enforce it's terms.
Re conflict of interest, of course there is the Code of Conduct, but this does not just extend to conduct at meetings of the Council, it also applies when a matter in which a Member has a clear declarable interest is being discussed at a policy level by members of an administration, especially if that member is the Deputy Leader.
It would be certain that this matter was discussed at length on several occasions both during informal Cabinet meetings and during meetings with Officers. Can you assure us that Cllr. Stubbings declared his interest at those meetings.
You see it is the public perception in cases like this that in his position, the ability of such a senior politician to influence decisions in his own
favour is a scandal.
A similarly scandalous situation

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by phil jordan

4th February 2014, at 08:20:42

cont:
I have no conflict of interest in this matter and will take part and vote on the issue to hand accordingly.

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by phil jordan

4th February 2014, at 08:16:32

My final word...it is becoming circular.
RTHG have NOT said they *cannot* proceed.
(they have said, however, the project is delayed - and what you have to consider Don, is the extraordinary amounts of legal fees we would have to apply to convince a Court that the word "delay" ...actually means "cannot proceed". Good luck with that.)
You have no idea what clauses are in the contract. Merely repeating they exist to suit your own wishes doesn't make it so.

However, this is yet another example of the inherited mess from the last administration.

Clearly, you also have no idea as to protocol and Code of Conduct we Councillors are bound by.
That protocol prevents the Councillor from taking part in debate and voting where a conflict of interest lie.
So, let's get this very clear for readers who might be interested in the facts.
The Councillor will have to declare an interest and will not take part in the matter or debate after that. I have no conflict

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by Don Prescott

4th February 2014, at 07:49:08

Here we go again.
I draw your attention YET AGAIN to this:
"If RTHG were unable to proceed then the Council could exercise its option to buy back the facility"

RTHG ARE unable to proceed. They have SAID so. They do NOT have the finances. All, they are trying to do is fix the roof with the help of some students, running rings round you "Newby" Councillors in the process and you fools are happy to go along with it.

Instead of which you should "exercise your option to buy it back"

Secondly, I cannot imagine that even you are so obtuse as to recognise the conflict of interest of having the Deputy Leader Chair a Committee (of which YOU were a Member) which "decided" to gift the Coastal Centre to Ventnor Town Council of which the Deputy Leader is the MAYOR.

I can imagine the headline on your fanzine had "the last administration" pulled the same stroke!

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by phil jordan

3rd February 2014, at 21:22:20

Don,

You, neither roger, have any idea about the terms of the legal contract drawn up. Yet you *believe* there are clauses within that are usable to find remedy to the current position. That is your perogative even if it falls short of reality.

Just another mess to sort out inherited from the last administration... and an expensive legal one at that, no doubt.

I have to say, I admire the irony of criticising the disposal of the Coastal Centre whilst (apparently) defending the disposal of the VWG...

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by Don Prescott

3rd February 2014, at 16:02:52

phil,
have you a masters in obtuseness?
I ask because say I was buying a house in Portsmouth (you should be so lucky) and signed a contract to do so and then found that I had no money, do you really think that the vendor would say" thats alright, don't worry if you cannot PROCEED, we will wait until you can".
Maybe you should give up this Councilling malarkey. and stick to hairsplitting

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by Don Prescott

3rd February 2014, at 15:39:15

I see that a "new" story has been released to get them off this hook.
Very fortuitous!

Stublett Towers (as many Ventnorians are calling it) has now been let for the princely sum of (it would appear) £5,000 p.a.

You could not make it up.

Had Pugh/Brown done this there would have been hell to pay.
Another proviso is that the rent "could" be 7.5% of the GROSS income of Stublett Towers.

What happens if it makes a loss?

Oh well, just rip off the poor old mug precept payers again.

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by roger mazillius

3rd February 2014, at 15:21:42

Phil - I certainly don't need any lectures from you about best value. Don has well identified the safeguards embodied in the sale terms - that is good practice. The whole point about the "sale price" was that it the Council, VTC and the public knew there was a contract to deliver a multi-million pound facility of high quality to the betterment of Ventnor and the ISLAND'S TOURIST INDUSTRY at no cost to the Island taxpayer plus we got an extra £1! Not a bad swap most thought, £1 and a part derelict property for a million or two! -Some giveaway!
An enormous amount of professional advice was taken before the deal was struck and of course it is absolutely of great concern that Hamborough have said they cannot proceed to deliver on the contract
terms. So what are you going to do about that? Nothing it seems!

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

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