Friday, November 20, 2009

Town to get its say on council's money

Sunday 1st November 2009

The people of Winsford, UK are to be given a say in what the town council spends its money on.

Winsford Town Council plans to place 2,000 questionnaires in shops around the town in a bid to find out where tax payers think their money should be going.

The results will then influen, ce discussions for the annual council budget, which will come into force in April 2010.

The groundbreaking scheme was revealed at the town council’s meeting on Monday, October 19, where Clr Don Beckett said it was about time that residents helped shape the town.

He said: “I think we have to get out there and ask the residents what they want to see from the town council.

“A lot of the main councils assume what people want them to do. However, we will need to make them aware that some of the priorities they set may cost more in the precept.”

Clr Malcolm Gaskill suggested making residents aware of how much money they spent in each area, such as school milk, but the other councillors agreed it would be an overload of information.

Residents will be asked about how much they think should be spent on things such as play area improvements, crime prevention, war memorials and traffic calming measures.

It will also seek public opinion on possible plans too launch a ‘Participatory Budget’ whereby local organisations could make a project bid in front of a public audience which would decide who gets the money.

At present, the councils owns and runs Over and Wharton Recreation Grounds; maintains areas of open space including Rilshaw Meadows, the Verdin Fields and play areas at Meadow Bank, Stanthorne, Wharton Road and Station Road, and is responsible for Over allotments.

It provides free mid-morning milk to nursery and infant children; provides the High Street Christmas lights; funds a police community support officer and provides more than £50,000 a year in grant aid to local voluntary organisations.

Its revenue budget for 2009/10 was £336,000, to which the council contributed £20,000 meaning the average band D property paid £34.16 for town council services provided during 2009/10.

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