“A report explaining how we (SDC) will make a formal Expression of Interest (Otterpool Park Garden Village) will be available to the public on May 31 and will be debated at cabinet on June 8.” This is a quote from SDC.
Firstly nothing has been made ‘Public’ on the website except the minutes for the Cabinet Meeting on the 8th June.
Secondly, the Cabinet will discuss the Formal Expression of Interest behind closed doors. The Public and the Press WILL NOT have access to this debate. Once again SDC elect to exclude the public from the following items of business, on the grounds that it is likely to disclose exempt information, as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972: ‘Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).’ ‘Financial or business affairs includes contemplated as well as current activities.
So again no transparency there then, but that is pretty standard for SDC and regardless of all the huff and puff, nothing is going to change in the short term.
Thirdly, SDC’s communication team informed our public face that by 5pm something would be on their website. But 5pm has come and gone. Now we have said in the past that SDC’s communications team are a bunch of clowns.
So how are they going to fund it? Well, SDC state
“Shepway District Council’s contribution can be funded initially through those
reserves already in place for the planning work around junction 11 and from carry forwards related to the area. The balance will need to be considered as part of a full budget management plan to be submitted to Cabinet in a future report once the outcome of the expression of interest is known and the extent of any Government support. The balance between funding through the base budget and from reserves will need to be more fully analysed. It is proposed at this stage that officers work to identify the appropriate reserves and present the funding plan once the outcome of the Expression of Interest is known.”
As of March 31st 2015 SDC had £28,345,000 of usable reserves (Pg 32 of 2014/15 Accounts).
Usable Reserves result from the authority’s activities and can be spent in the future
capital receipts reserve
However, this can have a negative impact because the level of usable reserves, the spending plans of the authority and other sources of funding will determine how much council tax needs to be raised.
Is non-transparent SDC and the Cabinet telling you that? Well of course not.
So you see how it can have a negative impact. It raises our – Shepway Residents Council Tax bills. We know that the loophole that exists at Town or Parish level allows Council Tax to rise and cannot be stopped. It is not subject to the 2% referendum rule.
Many, but not all Town and Parishes raised there Council Tax for 2016/17
So not only can’t we know what is going on behind closed doors on the 8th June Cabinet meeting. We the residents will have to wait to see if our Council tax bills rise again at town & Parish levels in 2017/18.
We don’t expect them to fall, do you?
Finally, one of the Farmers does not wish to sell his land, another has gone to Hobbs Parker to be advised. And the third has been approached by Arena Racing Company . It is not a done deal, so come along to the Rally on June 4th and let your opposition to ‘Monksville’ be known.
Or contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
for more info.