Council shaves £10k from initial budget

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STREAMLINED budgeting by Spilsby Town Council has shaved more than £10,000 from its initial proposal to create a more efficient budget for 2012/ 2013.

Following concerns that the council’s previous budget was drawing excessively from its reserves, the finance committee met to identify possible reductions in spending.

The new budget, agreed by councillors at the latest Spilsby Towin Council meeting on Thursday, envisages a total spend of £53,370 - down more than 17 per cent and £10,850 from the initial proposed budget spend of £64,220.

Speaking after the meeting Mayor of Spilsby Coun Michael Lenton said: “There were concerns about the demands the previous budget placed on our reserves, so this is a more streamlined budget put together in a more professional fashion.”

The initial budget required £16,220 to be taken from the council’s reserves, however as that figure represented more than a quarter of the total income for the year, it was not thought to be financially sustainable and so the more modest £5518 withdrawal from reserves was arrived at.

Major savings have been taken from the ‘open spaces’ budget (£3000) and the ‘church/ cemetery wall’ budget (£2000).

During the current financial year, the council arranged for the rickety old cemetery wall to be demolished and replaced with hedging.

With health and safety risks no longer posed by the old structure, councillors did not envisage any major cemetery projects requiring substantial expenditure to occur and were therefore able to reduce that share of the budget.

A proposal to reduce the council’s spend on civic functions from £1,200 to £800 prompted Mayor of Spilsby Coun Michael Lenton to make an ‘impassioned plea’ for more funding.

Historically, the council has raised or lowered its budgeted amount for the Civic Sunday event depending on whether it spent more or less than the amount reserved for it in the previous year. As the event exceeded the £850 allocated to it in this year’s budget, Coun Lenton believed it was inappropriate to lower it further.

Although Coun Peter Grant felt that in these austere times ‘you have to cut your chord according to your cloth’ councillors eventually accepted Coun Lenton’s request to leave the civic functions budget the same as it was last year at £850.

Councillors also agreed to reduce the amount of money available for donating to causes and organisations in Spilsby.

Although Coun Trevor Beaumont disagreed with this reduction as it was ‘taking away from the people of Spilsby’ Coun Winston Baugh felt it was correct saying, ‘we are not a charity’.