Lately there have been many statements criticising West Lindsey District Council’s budget, and our use of taxpayers’ funds.
These have been misinformed, disingenuous, and certainly incomplete. The straight facts are quite simple and I can assure readers of the Rasen Mail that we are not squandering cash. Our level of reserves is deemed prudent for a council of our size.
We hold £12 million in revenue reserves – but £11 million of this has already been allocated to specific projects. This means we are committed to a sum of £2 million set aside for jobs growth and improving broadband services; a further £1.2 million for the community asset fund which gives out small grants and loans to people throughout the District, and that includes of course Market Rasen activity which is starting to benefit. Added to this are a score of smaller projects.
We also hold capital reserves, and this figure is currently £3.4 million.
Again, these sums have been allocated to fund the capital programme, so although it seems we have significant resources that we can touch, I hope you can now understand the reserve requirement.
In other words, Public Authorities, unlike private businesses, are simply not allowed to use capital to add to revenue. This means we cannot use such capital to actually run the council.
Also keep in mind that we are not allowed to collect tax and not use it. That would be unlawful.
Revenue resources can be used to finance any kind of a lawful expenditure; but capital resources can only be used to finance capital issues such as, for example, the purchase of property.
I am pleased to tell you that we shall more than likely be able to freeze council tax yet again. We are continuing to save more than £160,000 per year by not collecting green bins in the winter.
In addition, we have realised an economy of £70,000 by going “paperless”, the modern IT way to cutting out stationary, ink, and postage.
One of the most important things we aim to do this year is to stimulate businesses to create at least 50 new apprenticeships in WLDC.
We are also planning on being extremely energetic in getting our fair share of the £50 billion Lord Heseltine wants to put in a general pot for local government.
Coun Burt Keimach,
Leader WLDC, & LCC Coun Market Rasen Wolds