Coming up at Cabinet

It is always one of the highlights in the Municipal year when the CBC Cabinet with no Mandate debates the SEXY:

Revenue Budget, Fees and Charges, Capital Programme and Financial Reserves.

And whaddyaknow – our excitement at CREAMING IT over the financial decisions made at CBC will be released with a celebratory… eww when the Cabinet with No Mandate next meets at the Town Hall on Wednesday evening.

Midweek is seems is all about the money.

The Chronic is on the money, CBC is in the money, the Colchester People’s Assembly will be protesting about the money.

We better get this right…

There was *ahem* a spot of local difficulty last time we mentioned the Colchester People’s Assembly.

Our main concern was the laughable sight of two Labour Cabinet members joining in with the protest, ahead of blagging a seat around the top table.

This was back in those dark days when the Labour party was pro-austerity.

But this folly of a policy has thankfully been consigned to a lock-up somewhere in the M25 alongside the Ed Stone.

And so good on the Colchester People’s Assembly (and assorted high ranking CBC Cabinet members) who will no doubt now be showing their true Corbynista principles outside the Town Hall on Wednesday evening.

The gathering btw is timed to coincide with Gideon’s latest showboating on the big stage.

Local government is expected to take a severe kicking on Wednesday lunchtime in the autumn review – a statement that even those Comrades who aren’t quite signed up to the true benefits of democratic socialism will no doubt agree with.

But anyway.

Back to the Cabinet with no Mandate and the SEXY Revenue Budget, Fees and Charges, Capital Programme and Financial Reserves.

Like we said: CBC is currently in the money:

“The Scrutiny Panel reviewed the current year’s budget position on 10 November 2015. This showed a forecast net underspend of £167k and net additional income of £464k giving a combined gain of £631k.”

Which should mean an ACE CBC Christmas party this year.

But steady the buffers.

The Cabinet with no Mandate is already divvying up where the dosh will go.

£100k of the surplus will be spent on an ‘ICT strategy.’

A further £100k will go towards Firstsite as a one-off contribution to match funding being provided by Essex County Council.

The local paper link bait just LOVED that particular angle.

But wait! What’s this?

There’s more…

Add in the expected £1.1m increase from the New Homes Bonus (money given to CBC by the government for… building new homes) and you can soon see how CBC has got a very nice surplus ‘problem.’

A small portion of the New Homes Bonus money will be very generously handed down to various local festivals:

“The Council has provided financial support to festivals in the town such as the Comedy Festival and Free Festival and it is proposed to allocate £20k for such events in 16/17.”

Not much, but it’s a start.

Meanwhile there is a HUGE clue that Council Tax will be frozen yet again:

“The budget forecast for Council Tax income is currently based on a planning assumption of a freeze in the level of Council Tax.”

In an all out election year as well.

Fancy that.

Finally we come to our ABSOLUTE FAVE part of the fiscal year with the Fees and Charges.

“The Council agreed a pricing framework to reflect the Council taking a more commercial approach to service delivery that requires managers to behave in a more commercial manner and to be able to respond more quickly to market forces.

We actually read commercial as comical at first.

Ha, bloody ha etc.

Some very valid voluntary sector organisations will be benefitting from the CBC surplus:

Citizen’s Advice Bureau – £101,000

Community Voluntary Services – £45,000 and

Colchester and Tendring Woman’s Refuge – £21,500.

And then we come to the Arts.

Oh Lordy.

“This annual CBC funding combines with that awarded by Arts Council England and Essex County Council, as well as other public, private and commercial sources of income, to enable the organisations to contribute towards the Creative Colchester Strategy.”

But fret not:

“Performance is monitored against annual service level agreements and the organisations appear before the Scrutiny Panel on a regular basis.”

Despite the headline news elsewhere of Firstsite having another £100,000 hand out, the annual budget for the Golden Goose has actually been CUT.

Ditto for the Mercury and the Arts Centre.

Firstsite will receive a 15% reduction in the annual CBC grant – £127,925.

The Mercury fares slightly better with a 10% cut – £221,850.

Meanwhile the Arts Centre CBC grant has been reduced by 5% to £63,650.

Some of the other highlights that can be found in the Fees and Charges document include:

Mayor Making [it’s bollocks] £30.

“It is anticipated that a further increase this year may negatively impact on attendance in future.”

WHACK it up to a cool grand, we say.

The Oyster Fest piss up will cost you £95 next year.

As for FoI’s?

“Freedom of Information requests are provided free of charge under the legalisation, up to an appropriate limit set by the Ministry of Justice. The appropriate limit currently remains unchanged and for local government is £450. Requests that exceed the appropriate limit may be either declined or charged at the rate of £25 per hour, also set by legislation.”

There will be no increase in the admission charge to Colchester Castle next year.

The meanies at CBC have added 10p per pupil for museum visits – £3.

Parking charges also remain unchanged, unless you want to land your helicopter in a public park [we’re not making this up] where the fee will be £50 a pop.

The removal of Rodents (rats, mice, squirrels) & cockroaches (3 visits) is up a tenner from £181 to £191.

RATS, etc.

The webcast of a chapel service (not guaranteed to be broadcast live) is £60 – up £10.

Plus:

Postage and packing of cremated remains – price on request.

Bloody privatised Royal Mail.

Anyone wanting to apply for a Sex Shop Licence will be letting out a collective GROAN of relief in knowing that there is no charge in the £1,040 CBC application fee.

Um, HAMMERTIME etc.

SEXY.