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Hereford Council Budget for 2014/15 - Help us please!


dippyhippy
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I am absolutely exhausted with this constant crap! Just when you thought someone had some integrity and your faith is restored someone comes along and kicks you in the guts! We are totally wasting our time, we will never achieve anything other than notoriety for being persistent moaners and groaners who will never beat this administration. The very instant someone asks for some positive action everyone goes conspicuously quiet! Only to return when the proposed action dies a death!  I will be at the first demonstration organised to stand up to these idiots who are devoid of any moral conscience but until then I'm done! Trust me I have more to lose than most and not once did I not pledge my support,  have fun going round in circles you won't achieve anything until you organise yourselves. On the forums you're a formidable force and you all have my respect but you achieve nothing! 

 

My warmest regards to you all and my apologies if I've upset anyone this is not ment as personal attack but I have to be honest with myself.

Oh Flam, don't be disheartened - there are quite a few of us who are prepared to stand up and be counted, myself included. Timing, I feel, is everything. We will have our day, don't you worry.

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Communication is the name of the game or in this council's case a complete lack of it and disregard for its ratepayers.

 




 

item:

4. CORPORATE PERFORMANCE REPORT 2013/15: QUARTER 2

To review performance for the first half of 2013-14 and agree any further actions arsing to address performance issues.

Additional document:

Appendix 1 - Cabinet Q2 Critical Performance Measures

 

CUSTOMERS 

% of web users that were satisfied or content with their visit 

2011/12 Outturn  - 80.6% 

2012-13 Outturn - 76.6% 

2013/14 Target - >76.6% 

Latest Outturn - 54.4% 

Significantly behind target

Rating - Red

Direction of travel - Downwards

 

% of web users who did not find what they were looking for

2011/12 Outturn  - 19.0% 

2012-13 Outturn - 21.54% 

2013/14 Target - 20.0% 

Latest Outturn - 26.89% 

Significantly behind target

Rating - Red

Direction of travel - Downwards

 

Reduce the % of calls abandoned

2011/12 Outturn  - 7.20% (9,921 out of 136,375)

2012-13 Outturn - 14.22% (24,191 out of 168,633) 

2013/14 Target - <14.22% 

Latest Outturn - 18.16% (16,516 out of 91,372) 

Rating - Red

Direction of travel - Downwards

 

item:

5. Budget Monitoring Report

To provide Cabinet with assurance on the robustness of budgetary control and monitoring across the Council, to highlight key financial risks within directorates and identify mitigation to bring the authority within its overall approved budget.

 

Additional document:




 

(extracts)

Legal proceedings were commenced against the Council (and other Councils) by private search 

companies which could result in this Council having to repay around £367k putting pressure on 

2013/14 budgets. The outcome of this claim will have an impact on the way we deliver this service in the future. 

 

This includes the loss of rental income as a result of the impact of selling Council land and property assets in the current year which is partly mitigated in year only by the expectation of £75k for disposals less than £10k. 

 

There is a risk in relation to disputed items in the Amey contract, as previously reported. 

 

There is also the risk of the cost of emergency repairs in response to severe weather conditions, such as flooding or harsh winter conditions. Whilst DCLG assist in the funding of these costs, 

through the Bellwin scheme, Herefordshire would have to fund the first £454k within current 

budgets.

 

Based on parking income levels for the first six months of the year, there is an expected shortfall of £95k for the year; this is partly mitigated by one off premises savings relating to the temporary closure of Garrick House Car Park for repair. 

 

* Tonight the Council are running this message on their website:

"Please accept our apologies. Our website is experiencing some problems and may run slowly. We are working to fix it. If we have any urgent alerts they will be posted at newsroom.herefordshire.gov.uk"

 

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Hells Bells Megilleland - even more depressing reading, though I have to say most of it,particularly that which relates to the website comes as no surprise.

How much are we paying Hoople again for this vast improvement in service?

It makes me so angry. We are throwing good money after bad. This situation cannot continue without serious questions being asked about competency.

We are truly on the brink of a financial meltdown....when are people going to wake up to the severity of our problems?

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This includes the loss of rental income as a result of the impact of selling Council land and property assets in the current year which is partly mitigated in year only by the expectation of £75k for disposals less than £10k. 

 

Remember this reply a few weeks ago in Hereford Times letters:

 
Cllr Patricia Morgan, Cabinet Member, Assets and Corporate Services:
 
"With reference to your article on sales of council assets (October 17), Herefordshire Council like many other councils owns many assets ranging from tiny parcels of land to offices such as Plough Lane.
 
Herefordshire Council has a duty to manage the asset portfolio so that it uses county taxpayers’ money to best advantage.
 
Inevitably over time, some of the assets have become surplus to requirements either because they are not delivering a sufficient return and/or that they are no longer strategically important to support the delivery of services.
 
Currently the council has a policy for the disposal of surplus assets which has been in operation since 2009.
 
The assets recently sold at auction were part of a series of three auctions to sell off surplus assets under the current policy. The first was in July and a third is planned for February next year. This is not some “fire†sale but a planned approach to ensure best value for the taxpayer.
 
There are many ways to sell assets but the key driver must surely be ensuring value for money for the taxpayer".
 
Keep saying it and you will believe it!
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I know.

I had plenty to say when this letter was published on the HT forum! Although to be fair,a lot was pretty random!

You just feel that you go round in circles don't you? I cannot believe that there aren't hundreds of comments on some of these council related stories...is there really so much apathy around,or do folk just not care what's happening to this city?

 

Never one to miss an opportunity though, seeing as you mentioned Patricia, I must make my thoughts on her crystal clear, and at the risk of repeating myself, I would just like to say...she failed to resign over the appalling OFSTED report, which found every aspect of how we protect vulnerable children, as inadequate.That showed a lack of integrity. She is clearly out of her depth now. Failure to step aside shows a complete lack of sense and decency.

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According to background info posted today on the Councils very, very slow website, as part of the current 'consultation', looking at borrowing for capital projects, they have borrowed/spent £9.1m on the link road between 2008/9 and 2013/14 inclusive. In addition they state 'Merton Meadow replacement car park – increasing our income - £1m', whatever that means.

Other even more alarming costs are

Herefordshire Connects – supporting re-organisation £6.6m - what on earth??

Accommodation Strategy – rationalising our office and other accommodation and reducing our on-going costs - £17.9m.

 

Only a public body could spend £17.9m on reducing on-going costs ...

 

I had a grumble about the terrible web site  on theCouncil facebook site - they responded by saying 'We have listened to feedback about the design of the website and made some changes this week. In particular it should work better on phones and tablets. We have further changes planned and we would welcome any suggestions of requests. Planning search remains an issue and we are working to improve it by degrees. The council website is not managed by Hoople though Hoople staff do work on the website alongside Council staff.'

 

Frankly, I don't give a monkey's who manages it, but I do expect the damn thing to work, and work well, which it has not done for at least 18 months now. The redesign is appalling - if I thought for a moment they'd take any notice, I'd make helpful suggestions, but tried that before and was ignored.
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The Annual Audit Letter for Herefordshire County Council

from Grant Thornton
Year ended 31 March 2013
 
dated 22 October 2013
 
Key Issues for the Council
 
Key areas for Council attention 
 
We highlight here four key issues from the audit perspective which we believe the 
Council will continue to need to focus on in the coming year. 
 
Financial Position 
 
The Council faces some significant financial risks which need to be addressed 
urgently. The Council is all too aware of the current and future challenges, such as 
an ageing population and significant reductions in central government funding 
which will only increase the current pressures on budgets. However the Council's 
reserves are much lower than other similar councils and some of its programme of 
savings has been identified relatively late. Useable reserves have fallen from £29.3 
million in 2008/09 to £19.7 million in 2012/13 and of this balance £5.5 million 
relates to school reserves. This gives the Council less headroom. 
The Council made a deficit of £1.4 million in 2012/13, caused mainly by the 
continued overspending on Adult Social Care of £5.9 million. The financial 
position would have been worse were it not for some one off mitigations, such as 
income from the sale of West Mercia Supplies (£0.85 million). Early in 2013/14, 
the Council discovered that it had counted grant income of £3.8m twice. The 
response was to call a Special Council Meeting to address the issue which 
necessitated further savings to be made in 2013/14. The Council consequently 
needs to tighten the controls over the budget setting process to prevent such 
problems re-occurring 
 
Reports to the October Cabinet forecast a £3.9 million overspend in 2013/14 
mainly due to a projected overspending of £4.3 million in the Adults 
Wellbeing directorate. If the predicted overspend crystallises, the Council's 
general fund balance will fall well below the Council's own target level of £4.5 
million and therefore additional savings will need to be made in 2014/15 to 
replenish the balance. This will impose further financial pressures in 2014/15 in 
addition to the £12 million savings already required. It is therefore vital that the 
Council draws up a plan to address the forecast deficit. Looking ahead, the 
Council needs urgently to reconsider its future role and what it wants to deliver 
as a Council; and where further savings can be made to ensure the sustainable 
delivery of statutory services. 
 
Adult Social Care 
 
For several years the Adult Social Care budget has been overspent and the 
overspends have continued to rise each year, in part due to the practice of 
adding undelivered savings from one year into the budget for the following 
year. In 2012/13 the budget was overspent by £5.9m. The main reason for the 
overspend was the failure to deliver very ambitious savings targets. Review of 
the undelivered savings schemes shows that some schemes were unrealistic or 
were cost avoidance schemes which would only reduce additional demand for 
services. This indicates that the scrutiny and sign off process in relation to 
proposed savings schemes, particularly in relation to Adult Social Care, should 
be improved in order to ensure savings are delivered by the directorate. 
The final budget outturn in 2012/13 was an improvement on that forecast to 
Cabinet earlier in the year, due in part to action taken to reduce expenditure 
but also due to the fact that the in-year forecast was inflated by client costs 
which were no longer valid. A lot of work has been undertaken to cleanse 
data contained in these forecasts but further improvement is needed. 
 
The Council also needs to establish a working commitment accounting system in 
Adult Social Care so that managers have a better understanding of the financial 
consequence of decisions made; a point made by external auditors four years ago. 
 
The Council has taken steps to strengthen its budget setting processes in Adult 
Social Care following previous external audit criticisms that it was unrealistic. The 
Council now appears to be giving greater priority to carrying out the reforms to 
Adult Social Care delivery needed to achieve a balanced budget but this will take 
some time to deliver. When compared to similar councils, expenditure on older 
people is less than average per head of those over 65, but expenditure per head of 
adults aged between 18-64 is consistently in the highest 20% of councils for adults 
with mental health needs, learning disabilities and physical disabilities. This needs to 
be examined further. 
 
The Council is also taking steps to ensure greater stability in senior management in 
this key area. Capacity and stability in management has remained an issue across the 
Council but this area has been particularly affected. Adult Social Care remains a vital 
area for Members to closely monitor 
 
Waste Disposal 
 
The Worcestershire and Herefordshire Waste PFI contract with Mercia Waste was 
set up in December 1998. It was predominantly based around a residual waste 
facility for which planning permission was subsequently not granted. Since 1998, 
refurbishment and development of existing services has taken place as well as the 
Councils attempting to secure planning permission for a residual waste facility. In 
February 2012 the Councils agreed parameters, including financial ones , which must 
be met before a variation is approved. In July 2012 permission was granted to 
Mercia Waste for a residual waste facility in Hartlebury. There are now complex 
issues for the two Councils to consider in relation to; 
 
• achieving value for money from the contract and potential variations or any 
alternative waste disposal provision; 
• considering the impact of PFI credits and changes to the government policies on 
landfill 
• taking into account, and balancing, the views and interests of taxpayers; and 
• ensuring any variation is within the legal powers of the Councils 
 
We understand that the Council is in the process of considering these issues. 
 
Safeguarding Children 
 
An unannounced inspection by Ofsted of the Council's arrangements to safeguard 
children was carried out in September 2012 and these arrangements were assessed 
overall as "inadequate" across all three Ofsted review categories. An improvement 
notice was issued by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in February. The 
Council drew up an improvement plan in October and set up a multi agency 
Improvement Board with an independent Chairman. 
 
The Council has made several significant changes to address the issues set out in the 
Ofsted report and there has been regular reporting on progress against the 
Improvement Plan, including a report to Cabinet in September. However there is 
still much to do, not least in addressing the large number of temporary staff 
employed in key posts. The Council has stated that it hopes to achieve an adequate 
assessment in 2014/15 year. 
 
 
Acknowledgements 
This Letter has been agreed with the Chief Finance Officer and will be presented to 
the Audit and Governance Committee on 26th November 2013. 
 

 

And all this at the beginning of the year and now only £100,000 in general reserves according to the Hereford Times.

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  • 1 month later...
Important meeting coming up. Contains the results of public consultation held at the end of last year. Not that the Council will be taking much notice of that.

 



 


To provide the Health and Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the General Overview and Scrutiny Committee with information on the draft budget proposals and to give an opportunity for the committees to comment on the Budget report to be presented to Cabinet on 23 January 2014.

 

Additional documents:







 

There are a further 24 documents.


 

Here is what they want to achieve over the next three years.

 


Savings Proposals Summary 2014/15 to 2016/17 (£millions)

 

                        2014/15       2015/16       2016/17       Total by area

Adults            Â£5,490m      Â£3,435m      Â£3,146m             Â£12,071m

 

Childrens      Â£2,500m      Â£1,632m      Â£2,236m               Â£6,368m

 

Economic      Â£7,407m      Â£3,602m      Â£4,269m            Â£15,278m

Communities 

& Corporate 

& CEODT

 

Total             £15,397m     £8,669m      Â£9,651m            Â£33,717m Grand total over 3 years

by year


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The first thing I read was 'Manage demographic pressures/Improvements in Demand Management'. Written in the best management speak to ensure councillors don't have a clue what they're voting on. Just some highlights;

 

Reduction in all regulatory services to the statutory minimum.
Reduction in other regulatory services likely to result in increased antisocial behaviour, environmental degradation and community safety issues.
Grass will not be cut as frequently and litter not collected as often.
Remove funding from all libraries with the exception of Hereford, Leominster and Ross.
Remaining funding withdrawn from Hereford Futures executive team and from the Chamber of Commerce for their Strategic Business Engagement contract.
Reduction in infrastructure investment.
Workforce reshaping.
Fortnightly bin collection.
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Some highlights taken from Equality Impact of Budget Proposals.

 

Manage demographic pressures/improvements in Demand Management †providing people who do not have "eligible" adult social care needs with information, advice and guidance on how to live independantly and if they wish to purchase care and support, how they can do this.

Proposed budget savings 2014/15   £1,160,000  (Your on your own from now on)

 

Remove funding for non-eligible services 

Proposed budget savings 2014/15   £900,000 (Who decides - the secret six)

 

Reducing the amount we spend on highways and public spaces whilst prioritising road repairs

Proposed budget savings 2014/15   £1,132,000 (aren't Balfour Beatty supposed to repairing the roads and cutting the grass. Should be able to do with £20 million every year)

 

Parks †Reducing spending on parks and open spaces †Introduce parking charges at Queenswood †Possible community assest transfers  

Proposed budget savings 2014/15   £150,000 (Looks like you will have to pay to use the park, that is if they have't given it away for building)

 

Waste & sustainability †disposal contract †moving to alternate weekly collections of waste and restricting to 1 wheelie bin. (compared to Spain where they are emptied every day)

Proposed budget savings 2014/15   £188,000

 

Public toilets †no further closures planned (that is because they are all closed)

Proposed budget savings 2014/15   £90,000

 

Minimum "back office" services to maintain revenues and effective financial management

Proposed budget savings 2014/15   £1,792,000 (yet they give Hoople over half a million every month)

 

Car parking †Provide adequate supply of parking to support economic activity whilst maximising financial return from HC's land holding 

Proposed budget savings 2014/15   £none (No incentive for shoppers or commuters or cuts in enforcement)

 

Removing funding from Citizens' Advice Bureau

Proposed budget savings 2014/15   £48,000 (Can't support people who need help when in difficult circumstances)

 

Customer & Library Services, remove funding from all libraries except Hereford, Leominster and Ross.

Proposed budget savings 2014/15   £348,000 (Can't have any culture or self education. The masses may revolt)

 

Did the public support this when consulted?

 

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There is to be a special  meeting of Health & Social Care scrutiny committee of which I am a member, on 13th January where we will be discussing the proposed budget cuts to Social Care and childrens services that the administration of Herefordshire council is proposing, our comments / decisions will be also put to the Overview and Scrutiny committee straight after at their meeting.

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  • 1 month later...

Council approves budget today (7th February 2014)

 

1:38pm Friday 7th February 2014 in Hereford Times News

 
Herefordshire Council has just passed its 2014/15 budget having compromised on school transport charges and cuts to arts commissioning.
 
Councillors unanimously agreed that schools and art organisations can adjust to any new charging or funding arrangements for next year.
 
Councillors Sebastian Bowen and John Stone proposed an amendment to re-instate free home to school transport based upon nearest in county or catchment - and for post-16s with SEN - planned for September.
 
This, the council heard, allowed for the creation of a “transition fund†to enable schools to develop responses to the changes.
 
Also approved is an amendment to re-instate arts commission grants for 2014/15 enabling organisations to plan for adjustments to their funding.
 
However, councillors rejected an amendment to delay development of Hereford's link road so £100k could be set aside for voluntary sector.
 
One of the issues in backing the budget was the £40 million it will cost the council over the next three years to fund the £165 million energy-from-waste incinerator plant in Hartlebury, near Stourport.
 
The plan’s strategy estimates council borrowing to increase by £50.8 million over 2014/15, pushing the overall debt up to £218.2 million.
 
That includes £11 million borrowed over the year for the incinerator.
 
A total of  27 councillors voted in favour of the budget, with 19 against and five abstentions.
 
As a result of it being passed, council tax will now rise by 1.9% to £1,251.32 a year for a Band D household for 2014/15.

 

As a result of it being passed, council tax will now rise by 1.9% to £1,251.32 a year for a Band D household for 2014/15. As I have pointed out on HT Westminster Band D council Tax £680.74.

 

Westminster Council Tax for 2013/14
Band A £453.83
Band B £529.47
Band C £605.10
Band D £680.74
Band E £832.01
Band F £983.29
Band G £1,134.57
Band H £1,361.48

Herefordshire Council Tax for 2013/14
Band A £1,014.50
Band B £1,183.56
Band C £1,352.66
Band D £1,521.74 Not sure why this figure is different to HT report as I have got this figure from the HC website?
Band E £1,859.91
Band F £2,198.08
Band G £2,536.23
Band H £3,043.48

 

Also have you got some money to spare for the incinerator - they only need £40 million over the next three years. The plan’s strategy estimates council borrowing to increase by £50.8 million over 2014/15, pushing the overall debt up to £218.2 million. It looks as if the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership is being lined up to bail the county out when it goes bankrupt.

 

Following this earlier story in HT:

 

4:01pm Monday 3rd February 2014 in News By Bill Tanner

 
Council budget plan pushes borrowing debt up to £218m
 
HEREFORDSHIRE Council's backing for budget that pushes its borrowing debt up to £218m hinges on "money to burn".
 
Barring an unprecedented revolt at full council tomorrow (Friday), that budget raises the average council tax bill to  Â£1,250 and makes £15.4m in service and grant cuts.
 
The revolt could come over support for the energy from waste (EfW) incinerator - shared with Worcestershire County Council (WCC) - and the £40m it will cost the council over the next three years.
 
In backing the 2014-15 budget plan, members are, in turn, asked to approve the borrowing of that  Â£40m over three years to help fund the £165m EfW plant at Hartlebury near Stourport.
 
Loan costs will be paid by the contract partner Mercia Waste Management until the 2022-23
contract close, leaving an outstanding loan balance of £31m.
 
Loan repayment costs will continue to be financed from the waste disposal budget until 2040-41.
 
The plan's associated treasury management strategy estimates council borrowing increasing by £50.8m over 2014/15 pushing the overall debt up from £167.4m to £218.2m. That projected increase includes £11m borrowed over the year for the incinerator.
 
WCC has already voted the incinerator and its own share of the funding through.
 
Last month, Herefordshire Council's cabinet authorised “all necessary steps†to be taken in securing £40m from the Public Works Loans Board (PWLB), but the final decision lies with the full council currently tied at 29-29.

 

In this report it is noted that the council is tied at 29 - 29 with I imagine the tories being able to use their chairman's casting vote. However in the budget report today above a total of  27 councillors voted in favour of the budget, with 19 against and five abstentions making a total of 51. What happened to the other 7 councillors?

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5 Abstentions.

 

From Wikipedia:

 

"An abstention may be used to indicate the voting individual's ambivalence about the measure, or mild disapproval that does not rise to the level of active opposition. Abstention can also be used when someone has a certain position about an issue, but since the popular sentiment supports the opposite, it might not be politically expedient to vote according to his or her conscience. A person may also abstain when they do not feel adequately informed about the issue at hand, or has not participated in relevant discussion. In parliamentary procedure, a member may be required to abstain in the case of a real or perceived conflict of interest".

 

Assuming 27 Tories voted for the Budget two of their party didn't. I imagine because of ill health mentioned by Glenda.

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The problem is that the law, not the constitution, demands that a council must set a balanced budget by march 10th. No alternative budget was put forward, although two amendments, one each from the Independent and IOC groups, were accepted on a vote by council.

 

Many of us still not happy with the budget, but can nt find alternative funding for the projects we want to keep as they always were. So no point in voting against something unless you have got an alternative, but an abstention is a way of saying I disagree with the budget as a whole but glad to accept the proposed amendments.

 

It needs to be remembered that there has been a lot of money wasted over the years. An example is on any one day as many as 15 people from different disciplines but from the council or health, might go to a single home, say in Wigmore, one of the far flung villages in the north. You could half this number and still deliver a good service to the client.

 

The Libaries Users group have come up with a great way of running the museum, which has been crap for years, keep the Libary, install front line advice service, and make the building pay for itself.

Alternative ways of doing some things while ensuring other important services continue to get the money they need to provide up to date services to the elderly, children and the vulnerable.

 

I have nt got an alternative budget, and do not know anyone who has, no one on this blog has come up with one, so as March 10th is less than a month away and councillors of All parties have had the opportunity since last September to come up with alternative, we are where we are! Hope this helps

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Thanks for commenting Chris. I feel we are in a mess because no one is checking the budget as it's spent. Simply it is money in and money out. All this creative accounting has got us and councillors bamboozled with the financiers laughing all the way to the bank. If we as ratepayers couldn't pay our council tax we would be summoned in two seconds. Yet the council just adds to its debt - up from £150 million to £218.2 million  - borrowing to increase by £50.8 million over 2014/15 (what in one year!)

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Correction! the two amendments that was put forward by the Independents and was accepted was for re-instating of the budget  for home to school transport and re-instate the budget for the arts.

The third amendment put forward by IOC was not accepted because it was to take away the money for the link road between A49/A465 (Ross Rd and Belmont road) to be built. As the A465 is in my ward and the congestion we face every day on this road I would not accept their amendment and neither did anyone else, the only councillors who voted for the amendment was IOC.

 

As I have said elsewhere in this post I voted against the budget for the following reasons which I stated at the meeting:

1. I could not accept the payment of £925 per day for two interim staff to help the director of adult social care when they have drastically cut back the budget for our elderly, disabled and children services.

2. continual borrowing of money to pay for the "road to nowhere" as I named it last year and many other things.

3. The destruction of our town centre and the businesses there in favour of the new shopping development when it was agreed in the begining that there was to be a link between high town and the new old market development.

 

I voted against the budget although an alternative was not put forward because personally I feel to abstain  is "sitting on the fence". It was a named vote so no doubt this will be reported in the HT next week and possibly my reasons why I could not vote for the budget.

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Does anyone know why we continue to pay Hereford Futures huge sums of money? I thought this Company had been wound up?  There is a lot of money set aside for this Company somewhere in the region of £650,000, I have read on the forums we continue to pay the Companies CE. If that's true why?

 

There were also lots of suggestions to save money put forward to the Council but they didn't/ wouldn't listen. There are several departments within the Council that increased their line management structure and dozens of people received wage rises, some going up several pay bands. 1 entire Department had to lose 2.5 members of staff, to balance the budget. They lost 3 through natural wastage, voluntary redundancy, early retirements etc. There are now two job vacancies in that department a new management tear slotted in and every member of staff at least 20 in total went from a scale 5 to a scale 7 minimum. Can someone please do the sums because I can't see the savings here. All I can see is as megilleland would say is clever accounting... and managers pulling the wool over Cabinets eyes. 

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I couldn't agree more with your comments, the lower paid staff who like everyone else finding it hard to make ends meet are the ones who are being sacked only to find a few weeks later others further up the pay scale are getting rises in their salary. I am on public record as asking  for a reduction in high paid officers and cabinet member salary  because of the mess this council is in, I ask this again at last Friday council meeting I got boo by the administration councillors, this was because I said  the director of health and wellbeing (social care) should take a salary cut to help pay for her two new interim staff £925 a day wage. I also said last year that I was willing to take a 10% cut in my councillors allowance like the other two councillors did providing the officers and cabinet members did the same that never happened!!! There are cabinet members and high paid directors  who has no idea what their job entails they just "muddle" through or ask for other high paid people to help, and one cabinet member who was ask to step down from their position  was moved to a high position in the council and salary to match, and people wonder why I get annoyed!

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Well said Clllr Powell,  it is absolute madness they won't listen and bloke you say wonder when we get angry.  I copied the following from  the Hereford Times. I believe the information was released by the Council. Has Hereford Futures been wound up or not? It is every confusing...

 

The total amount of money available to Hereford Futures from 2013/2014 are £153,000 funded from Herefordshire Councils annual budget (2013/14 only) 

£211,000 funded from surplus rental income from properties purchased using Advantage West Midlands funding 

£331,000 funded through the Council Capital Programme supporting investment in Hereford City regeneration 

Whilst all of the above funding is available to Hereford futures only part of it will be used to meet obligations to its staff the balance being used for operation costs and to fund delivery project work.

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Hereford Futures is to be formally round up as its purpose is now ended. It was set up, as is common practice in local government, to develop and provide the Old Market site with a developer, shops etc. That task is over, almost, so Futures is no longer needed.

 

The financial details I do not know as much of it will be commercially sensitive, but the bits in the public domain can be found on the council web site.

 

If, in a few years, the next stage of the planned city development goes ahead around the former canal basin, then I expect another company will be set up to develop that plan, which of course was always planned to take about 25 years.

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"Hereford Futures is to be formally round up as its purpose is now ended." I never cease to be amazed about how ill informed some councillors appear to be. The adopted ESG Masterplan, voted on by councillors, laid out a timetable, as below, and its clear how little has been achieved by the various incarnations of ESG companies and subsequently Hereford Futures. The time scale of 25 years has never been mentioned to the best of my knowledge. In fact we should be well into 3/5ths of the project by now.

 

Hereford Futures was scaled down last June, the offices were closed and it effectively finished. They said at the time "The Council will see through the remaining elements in the development programme, including the construction of the planned Link Road and Urban Village by using in-house expertise and resources. Jonathan Bretherton, CEO of Futures will remain through to next spring to oversee the completion of the Old Market scheme and support the council on various projects including the marketing of the Urban Village and the Link Road CPO."

 

The registered office of Futures is at Bretherton's home at Ledbury. The last accounts, from 12 months ago, show a deficit of some £15k.

 

In the early days, West Midlands Advantage paid for some £5m of property in Hereford, inc Blueschool House and Franklin Barnes. This was transferred to Hfd Futures when WMA was wound up. So, with Hfd Futures on the way out, and with nothing in the kitty, where has the £5m of property gone? I assume transferred to the Council, which is why the move to sell off Franklin Barnes and move the info point, yet again, this time, irony of ironies, to the Library.

 

"Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?" - John Lydon.

 

 

Phasing (from the ESG Masterplan)

The following diagrams show how the Masterplan could evolve from the present position into the final end result. A precondition is off-site works to the west of the City to provide for relocation of the Livestock Market and flooding works. On the site, five phases have been identified. As with any major planned redevelopment, the phases will overlap, and are highly likely to change in response to changing market conditions. The timescales identified are on the basis of a commencement of works on site in 2009 (year 1).

 

Initial off-site enabling works

• Undertake strategic flood mitigation scheme at Credenhill to River Wye (corridor under consideration)

• Construct new Livestock Market site incorporating potential alternative flood mitigation measures.

Relocation of livestock market and strategic flood mitigation scheme

 

Phase 1, years 2010 to 2012

• Commence Station Approach redevelopment

• Construction of link road including land assembly and clearance

(route options under consideration between A-B)

• Land assembly and construction of new car park for Royal Mail,

to south west of existing Royal Mail building

• Establish pedestrian connection between railway station and

Blackfriars

• Widemarsh Brook diversion - route options under consideration

• Initial works at Station Square and transport hub

• Streetscaping to Widemarsh Street

Building the link roads and starting redevelopment at Station Approach

 

Phase 2, years 2011 to 2014

• Commence Blackfriars Urban Village construction

• Commence Canal Park

• Downgrade inner ring road and construct link to Coningsby Street

• Commence development of the Catherine Street area, allowing

relocation of the Info Centre from Garrick House

• Commence Retail Quarter construction

• HUFC Meadow End redevelopment

Urban Village commences in the north of the area. Retail Quarter development commences, linking the old and new by downgrading Newmarket/Blueschool Street

 

Phase 3, commencing year 2013

• Retail Quarter opens

• Development of potential Hereford University site at Blackfriars

Street (A)

• Redevelop remainder of HUFC

• Refurbishment of Blackfriars precinct

With the completion of the Retail Quarter, development continues at Blackfriars Street and at the Urban Village.

 

Phase 4, timetable developed with partners

• Continued development of Catherine Street area

• Continued phased development of Blackfriars Urban Village

Catherine Street and Urban Village areas continue to be developed

 

Phase 5, timetable developed with partners

• Blackfriars Urban Village and Canal Park completed

• Final works at Station Square and transport hub, including commercial development

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  • 1 month later...
 

Let people keep money

 
Cllr Nicholls (IOC) makes some interesting points in his letter regarding the council budget ( Readers’ Times , March 6), but he provides little evidence.
 
The opposition is keen to criticise, but the reality is that it put forward three amendments for this year’s budget representing 0.2% of the net budget.
 
I can only conclude that either they are in broad agreement or they do not have any viable alternatives.
 
Following our budget discussions we have agreed a council tax increase for 2014/15 of 1.9%.
 
This is a modest but prudent increase given the reduced funding from government and increasing demand for services.
 
This follows a council tax increase of 1.9% in 2013/14 and no increases in 2012/13 and 2011/12.
 
Our MPs, the leader and the cabinet member for children’s wellbeing have recently ensured that the extra costs of rural services are heard loud and clear at Westminster.
 
This must continue.
 
We must all recognise the relatively low average wage in Herefordshire, and thus the absolute need to minimise council tax increases in the future and allow the people of Herefordshire to keep their money in their pockets.
 
On the subject of rubbish collection, the article on the front of the Hereford Times last week raises some points but also unfounded fears.
 
In 2009 when the wheelie bins were introduced, there was also concern and recycling rates were just under 30% – rates are now over 40% and the service is universally praised.
 
Assuming the decision is made to change rubbish collection, black wheelie bins (for non-recyclable waste) and alternate-week collection will be introduced.
 
Based on the many other (67%) authorities who have alternate week collections, recycling is likely to rise to 45%.
 
This will have both financial and environmental benefits.
 
CLLR PATRICIA MORGAN Deputy leader of Herefordshire Council

 

The council tax increase is not modest when I have to pay £119 a month for a pi*% poor service. Any financial improvements are usually only for the benefit of the council and its private contractors! 

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