Concern that increase is ' unsustainable'

PUBLISHED: 11:24 12 January 2006 | UPDATED: 17:11 11 May 2010

UNDOUBTEDLY an attention grabbing headline in the last Crow of 2005, but one that is not supported by what I said at the meeting and which I would have trusted the Editor, in his impartial position and not as chairman of the town council's museum sub-com

UNDOUBTEDLY an attention grabbing headline in the last Crow of 2005, but one that is not supported by what I said at the meeting and which I would have trusted the Editor, in his impartial position and not as chairman of the town council's museum sub-committee, would have corrected before publication. It is correct I did say that for some the museum is a hobby; although it might have been better if I'd said that for a small number of people the museum is one of their great interests, which they are only too happy for local taxpayers to generously support. I was not referring to the museum staff when I made my comments. Personally, I am pleased we have a local museum and it was during my time as its chairman that it was last re-furbished, but I know many people who would be unconcerned if there was no local museum. However, what I am concerned about is the year-on-year increase in the museum's operating costs, which I believe are unsustainable. The report is correct in saying the proposed budget for the next financial year is some £4,000 less than the current year, but the reason for this should be well known. When the budget for the current year was set, the premises sub-committee, of which I was then chairman, included a sum of £11,000 in the current year's museum budget for essential maintenance, mainly the replacement of window frames. Stripping that expenditure out of this year's budget and also the £2,300 included in the current year to assist with the launch of Jack's War, the proposed budget for next year allows for an increase in the museum's operating costs of £3,528, an inflation busting increase of 5.9 per cent making a total budget of £63,358, which is 40 per cent of the town council's precept. I'm sure it would be of public interest if The Crow would publish much more information on the proposed town council and also the district council's budgets, so that local taxpayers can judge for themselves if their money is being spent wisely. Cllr ROD KENNEDY Town Councillor Royston Heath Ward Editor's note: The Crow's reporter Rob Dabrowski was at the meeting and his report was an accurate reflection of the debate which took place over the Royston and District Museum.

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