Accountant challenges Boston Borough Council over whether Mayor is good value

Darren Abbott
Darren Abbott

An accountant has challenged Boston Borough Council to examine whether its spend on the town’s mayor, its members and civic functions is ‘value for money’.

Darron Abbott pointed to paperwork fror 2014/15-2018/19 which shows exactly how much of taxpayers’ money was spent in this area.

The General Fund Estimates also show how much is estimated to be spent in the coming years.

Gross expenditure: members and mayoral - 2014/15 £278,080; 2015/16 £278,530; 2016/17 £285,680; 2017/18 £278,700’ 2018/19 £279,260. Civic functions: £22,110; £22,270; £22,320; £22,350; £22,440 respectively.

No income is listed for ‘members and mayoral’, and the civic functions are only estimated to bring in £2,600.

Mr Abbott also pointed to documents from October 2011 which showed the mayor cost £80,000 in 2012/13 and at this time options for savings were to be considered.

A council spokesman confirmed one of those options had been taken up – looking to save £14,000 over the following few years.

Mr Abbott compared the figures with events in the town such as the recent beach day - which he claimed bring in more visitors and make more money for the town.

He questioned how many events the money spent on the mayor could pay for.

Mr Abbott said: “Does the mayor represent that kind of value for money, can he bring 6,000 people in for two days?

“How much value did the beach day bring to the town?”

Mr Abbott made it clear he was not looking for the role to be abolished completely, just carried out with a smaller budget.

Mr Abbott wants the council to run a consultation in the Market Palce with him to gauge public opinion .

He believes this is especially important in light of cuts and charges being made to facilities such as street lighting and waste collection.

He also looked at other factors such as staff parking being provided for free for certain council members.

The council has said that ‘all areas of council services, including the office of the mayor, are under review as part of the council’s Transformation Programme’.

It says this programme aims to both save money in the light of Government austerity measures and to improve the authority’s efficiency.

The spokesman said: “Since 2009 the council has already saved £2.4 million and is facing a challenge to save a total of £5.8 million over the next four years to further reduce net annual spending by £2.2 million by 2020.

“The council is always pleased to listen to constructive suggestions from anyone and makes itself accessible at all times. There is a procedure for questions to be asked at full council meetings and comments are invited through the various consultation events held throughout the year.”

The spokesman added that Boston Borough Council’s councillors’ allowances are among the lowest in the country and the lowest in Lincolnshire.

Residents were recently asked for their views on the Transformation Programme and a consultation on the council’s Corporate Plan is live until tomorrow (Friday).

See The Standard’s website for the Mayor’s response.

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