Members rebel on prudent’ budget

FIVE councillors have rebelled against a decision to increase Royston Town Council s budget. They opposed the rise – and believed too much cash was being given to the town council-run Royston Museum. Cllr Rod Kennedy described the increase as an excessi

FIVE councillors have rebelled against a decision to increase Royston Town Council's budget.

They opposed the rise - and believed too much cash was being given to the town council-run Royston Museum.

Cllr Rod Kennedy described the increase as "an excessive rise".

"It's not our money - it's other peoples money," he said.


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He opposed a 7.34 per cent increase in the town council's precept for 2007-08 to meet a budget of £170,000.

The rise was an equivalent of £27.97 a year for a Band D property. This represented an increase of £1.97 compared with 2006-07.

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But Cllr Kennedy said that the town council should have "capped" its own budget at a 5 per cent increase.

Other local authorities are under Government orders not to exceed a 5 per cent rise - but the rules do not apply to town councils or parish councils.

"The principle is important," said Cllr Kennedy. "We have to spend what we have wisely."

He was, however, critical of the town council spending almost £66,000 a year to meet the running costs of the museum.

Cllr Kennedy said the museum was not "an essential of life".

"The museum cannot keep asking for funding although it would be nice if North Herts District Council helped with the funding," he said.

"The budget for the museum should be reduced and then we could have had an increase of just 5 per cent," he said.

In support, Cllr Robert Smith said: "We could have had a 5 per cent increase with a little more effort. Next year we will be looking at further savings."

He said he supported in "principle" the need to reduce the museum budget.

And he added that talks were taking place between the town council and district council over funding for the museum, but it was "too premature to comment".

Mayor Cllr Lynn Berry said the budget would need "a lot more work next year".

Earlier, finance committee chairman Cllr Philip Mayne said the increase in the budget would cost residents 4pence-a-week.

He said the increase included plans to spend £5,000 on refurbishing the outside of the town hall.

Cllr Mike Harrison described the budget as "prudent".

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