More Cutbacks Needed As Council Fails To Meet Savings Target

town hall 4The Council has failed to boost its savings as much as had been hoped.

They wanted to put £200,000 into their reserves during 2013/14 but managed to achieve less than half of that, at £81,000.

Interim Financial Controller Sarah Chodkiewicz has told councillors that they’ll need to find more cost savings this year.

The annual Statement of Accounts show the authority’s General Purposes Committee, which looks after infrastructure such as waste and water, had one of the biggest overspends at £196,000. That included larger overtime payments for the Direct Labour Force and Fire Service, in order to keep services running.

There was also an unspecified, one-off capital payment of £78,000 associated with the Porthcressa Regeneration Project.

But many departments managed to make cuts, including Community Services, which underspent by £353,000.

So far, the majority of the savings have resulted from temporary measures, such as recruitment and project delays and deferring non-essential repairs.

Sarah said the austerity was likely to continue for the foreseeable future and more permanent cost cuts needed to be found.

17 Responses to More Cutbacks Needed As Council Fails To Meet Savings Target

  1. Ray Wornes August 1, 2014 at 9:05 am

    Having looked over the statement of accounts you provided Steve I can imagine most Councillors rarely being able to ask a question or say anything worthwhile. I could imagine like me they never understood very much when there appear to be no specific costing of individual waste operations and so many confusing subheadings. Any comparisons with alternative methods must be impossible. The mass of non specific data must confuse the public and leave Councillors in the dark and almost totally speechless. I have read much simpler company accounts. These accounts need a revolution in plain speak accounting. Of course what they invite the public and Councillors to do is to stop wasting everyone’s time and give up asking silly questions.

  2. lighthouse man July 31, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    Dear Steve Sims you are undoubtedly a clever man but its not about you.

    • Steve Sims August 1, 2014 at 12:41 am

      I don’t think it is, I was only trying to give a little clarification. Anyway I’ve decided not to respond in future to anonymous posts, because this “forum” has become a woefully negative bear pit. And as Janet quite rightfully said you can contact me (or any other councillor) about these all consuming issues by other means like talking for one.

      • yet anoth August 1, 2014 at 8:13 am

        This site has always been used by people when they’re not happy with what’s going on; you’ve done so yourself Steve. It would seem that you’re not so keen now that we are blaming the regime that’s telling you and the other councillors what to do. What happened to the dynamic leadership and the new dawn of sunny democracy we were promised? Failing regimes and dictatorships never did like free press.

  3. Look after the Pennies July 31, 2014 at 9:59 am

    We could save a few pennies if the powers that be could sort out the street lighting at Old Town. Since the clocks went forward, the lights are now on until 1am. The timer was always sorted under the previous regime.
    Also, why are the lights on the path along side the school on at 6pm on a summer evening?

  4. Ray Wornes July 30, 2014 at 10:52 am

    I believe the post of Chief Technical Officer is the most important position in the whole of this Council’s management structure. The failure to appoint a new much more highly qualified CTO seems to me to have been a false economy when that higher level of expertise could already have saved a considerable amount of cash by employing cheaper and better methods of operation. Take the enormous £285 per tonne for moving bagged waste from Moorwell to a mainland landfill. I suspect there could have been a major saving in that area. I feel that savings on expenditure could be forthcoming if the cost and method of existing operations were seriously re-examined by someone who has an intimate expert knowledge and experience of different methods, the cost of waste and other services and the market price of recyclables. Just what is the costing on the processing of glass for re-use in the building industry when shipment for recycling is more ecological and all that is required? Another large movement of waste from Moorwell to the mainland is being planned so just how much per tonne is that going to cost? My concern is that any kind of possible overspend could limit the future options for a comprehensive recycling operation like stopping us buying a separated waste collection vehicle. We need a much more highly qualified Chief Technical Officer employed to oversee future methods, expenditure and savings and to have the required knowledge of Environmental Science, Environmental Health and Law to operate financially in a much more strict fashion in this special but hitherto under-protected environment. There could be some existing positions that would not be needed if they were replaced by a much more useful and effective, Highly Qualified Chief Technical Officer heading up a much more active Council Technical Services department which could include Environmental Protection.

  5. Carillon July 30, 2014 at 10:44 am

    I was asking you Councillor Simms. Your in charge of that commitee. Why wont you answer the question? I dont know how to make sense of accounts but I expect you to as I voted for you. If you dont know just say so!!!!!!

    • Janet Roberts July 30, 2014 at 11:56 am

      Wouldn’t it just be more sensible to approach Mr Simms personally? Here, online, comments can be misconstrued or even twisted to suit other peoples ends. There is also something rather distasteful about challenging someone so brazenly in an open forum when you yourself hide behind a fake name. Give him a phonecal or stop him in the street, but please stop bleating on, online. I love visiting the islands, but to see such pettiness being played out over the internet makes me sad.

      • Steve Sims July 30, 2014 at 1:43 pm

        Thank you Janet. I only do it for the abuse.

  6. Carillon July 29, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    Councillor Simms. Your doing a good job of being a yes minister caracter and avoiding the question. You are in charge of the committee that has overspent by almost £80,000. If I had done that in my job I would have been sacked. Tell us what the money was spent on. It has been passed through your committee. If you dont know tell us why you dont know. Are you a safe pair of hands or are they leading you a merry dance?

  7. Steve Sims July 29, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    Probably best to ask the council, rather than banging on about on here.

    Regarding “savings” the council is not a pension scheme it has a lot of commitments to roll out. It has reserves which are there to be spent when required. If the council was putting away 8 hundred thousand every single year then you would be rightfully moaning that your council tax was too high.

    There is a PLANNED budget year on year, but unexpected things happen, like storms and excess iron pyrite in the bore holes…..

    No one questioned the 78k because as far as I know, it is a deferment from last year which was presumably incurred in 2011/12. It’s an accountancy thing.

    If you recall Adrian queried the 7k re Ash Futures report (which will be paid by LEP) and all hell broke loose here. So it really is a question of frying pan and fire. Please advise?

    • Sally Port July 29, 2014 at 4:57 pm

      Regarding the £78k payment, the important thing here, Cllr Sims, are your words “as far as I know” and “presumably.”

      Don’t you know for certain? Have you asked your finance team? It’s in your budget as Chairman of General Purposes!

      • Steve Sims July 29, 2014 at 9:06 pm

        From the statement of accounts.
        “Open Spaces and Beaches overspent by £78,000. This was the result of one-off capital costs associated with the Porthcressa Regeneration that required funding through revenue. Usual Open Spaces and Beaches services came in on budget.”

        The 78k will be refunded to the LA from the ERDF who funded the project, so it is only technically an overspend. It’s still being dealt with by Economic Development, but upon the completion of the project Porthcressa transferred to back to GP.

  8. yet another islander July 28, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    £78,000 overspend yet no one questions it. Come on councillors for heaven’s sake start doing what you were elected for

  9. Nobby Nobbs July 28, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    The council could have made major savings with regard to senior officers redundancy payments

  10. Enquirer July 28, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Reference the Councils failure to meet it’s targeted expenditure savings. What was the unbudgeted one off payment of £78,000 for the Porthcressa Regeneration Scheme actually for and why did none of the Councillors question this payment? In an organisation desperately trying to make meaningful savings this type of overspend should ring alarm bells to the people supposed to be overseeing the organisation on the residents behalf, such an expenditure should not be passed over without active investigation.