Politics: £60k tip of WLDC iceberg

I would like to congratulate you for your Front Page of December 31. Cllr Geoff Wiseman was absolutely right to bring the matter of three key officers not being reappointed to jobs they already held to your attention.

Cllr Wiseman will tell you the £60,000 mentioned is just the tip of the replacement iceberg. It is clear to me that when our operating income is falling we should be looking to reduce top management costs and not increase them.

Any reader with business experience will have seen all is not well in local government.

The headlines varied from WLDC having a cash mountain of £18m to a pension deficit of £26m in the blink of an eye.

The signing of a four year £1.5m maintenance contract for the leisure centre with out going out to tender, the massive potential loss of income from CILs(Community Infrastructure Levy) and the annual loss of 10% per annum of our operating income from Government would worry anyone who has been directly responsible for the Profit & Loss account, the Balance Sheet, cash flow management and hiring and firing staff.

Unfortunately the County Council is even worse. It failed to apply to Defra for a £100m grant for the incinerator in 2008 and on the Lincoln Eastern Bypass, according to a memo from Mr Wills to LCC councillors in August 2011, the Council missed £112m of government funding by failing to submit a business plan to the DfT. £62m was lost and we will have to find the difference. Hence the Hawthorn Rd fiasco.

It is hardly surprising the County Council is after our money and the District Council has just kindly signed away a possible valuable income stream from blue bin recyclable waste to LCC to help their cash flow. Money that could well have been spent on improving WLDC front line services.

How much WLDC money is involved from blue bin waste?

As a guide, South Holland district councillor Cllr Roger Gambba-Jones claims SH Council stands to lose almost £900,000 over the next five years as a result of the arrangement.

None of the three officers who painfully lost their jobs would have been responsible so what are the reasons for our malaise?

Politics, plain and simple.

Decisions are made by leaders with no relevant experience before the issue is debated in the council chamber and then party members who may have that expertise are ignored and are whipped into “ toeing the line”. Party Whips may be ok in Westminster but they are certainly not good for Lincolnshire or West Lindsey.

There are several examples in the district where politics has let us down.

In no particular order they would be; The planned closing of Hawthorn Rd, Cherry Willingham, the failure of the Saxilby residents to get a fair hearing of their campaign that WLDC should withdraw from the Joint Planning Unit and the financial failures already highlighted.

Politicians do not like admitting they got it wrong and not one of the above items are mentioned in the “County News winter 2015” or if they are a very rosy picture is painted.

The County News should be spin free and objective. Both sides of the argument should be printed.

I am delighted the incinerator is producing enough electricity for 26,000 homes but how much is the County being paid for the supply?

I am delighted the project will see a profit of £28m on its 30 year working life but as a return on capital employed at 0.64% per year it is shocking.

If inflation averages 2.6% per year our capital will have eroded by £87m over the 30 years.

That is atrocious financial management. If LCC had accepted the Defra money or saved £100m by choosing newer more environmentally friendly technology when the plant was ordered we would still have the electricity and much more money in the bank.

With Hawthorn Road a number county councillors were fully informed of the closure in 2011, as were a number of district councillors on the joint planning unit.

They had to be to have come up with the funding arrangements mentioned in Mr Wills’ email. So why did the local District Councillors and Parish Councils for Cherry Willingham, Reepham and Fiskerton not know of the plans to close the road. The County News should have told all.

With regards the Saxilby residents, why was my support for the residents airbrushed out of the history book?

At the WLDC Extraordinary Council Meeting at the Epic Centre my proposal that WLDC leave the JPU was not mentioned in the minutes and when I raised the point at the following full council meeting my objection was overruled.

So now the full council meeting minutes are not correct either! George Orwell would have had something to say on the matter!

If You are Concerned about

· The local plan &1000s of extra houses

· The £ms being frittered away by bad management

·The planned closing of Hawthorn Rd

· The lack of transparency in decisions being made on our behalf

Come to the Lincolnshire Independents meeting White Hart, 14 High St, Nettleham, 01522 751976 Wednesday, February 4th at 7.30pm. County and NKDC Councillor Marianne Overton MBE will start the evening.

Only by electing more independent councillors can we address the imbalance and effect positive change.

If you feel you would like to help, either as standing as an Independent Councillor or a supporter or just vote Independent please come.

But please phone or email me first! Chris Darcel on 01522 750411 email chris.darcel1@gmail.com Thank you for reading so far.

Cllr Chris Darcel,

Independent WLDC member for Fiskerton and Langworth