Balancing the books...but £1m cuts to come

Community news and events from the Boston Standard, Lincolnshire: bostonstandard.co.uk, on Twitter @standardboston
Community news and events from the Boston Standard, Lincolnshire: bostonstandard.co.uk, on Twitter @standardboston

Leading councillors have reflected on how they were able to balance the books last year – but face cuts of more than £1m in the next four years.

The borough council’s cabinet discussed the authority’s financial performance at its meeting on Wednesday.

Points revealed during a report by Coun Raymond Singleton-McGuire included:

l the council will not choose to introduce a £25 annual charge for brown bins – even though it could raise £1m in four years – because it wants to stick to its promise

lthe council made £142,000 extra on leisure than expected last year – with the money used to plug the extra cost needed for the PRSA

l £43,446.55 of debt was written off - £24,951.72 to one person who has since died. Coun Derek Richmond asked if the person died destitute or if money could be retrieved from their estate. Officer Peter Julian said he would report back.

l the council now employs a full-time fraud officer

l the council will have to make savings of £1.168 million by 2017/18 due to cuts

l it spent £7,410,497 on staff last year – £2,083 
under budget

• £868,791 was made from car parking – below the target of £922,930. The council blamed delays to new charges, bad weather and new rival private car parks for the shortfall

The council also handled 42 per cent more requests under the Freedom of Information Act – up from 432 to 619.

Coun Singleton-McGuire said many request were from national bodies who asked the same question to all councils.