Cash wrangle over town’s recreation grounds
PUBLISHED: 09:00 25 August 2012
DISCUSSIONS are ongoing about transferring the responsibility for maintaining Weston’s recreation grounds and play areas.
With North Somerset Council looking to save £47million over four years, earlier this year it handed Weston Town Council the special expenses element of council tax – the charge Weston residents alone paid to North Somerset for the maintenance of nine play areas and six recreation grounds.
But the town council is still paying North Somerset, out of the special expense, for the actual maintenance of the sites – a cost that currently runs to £175,000.
The play areas may be transferred within the current financial year.
But the North Somerset contract for the recreation grounds currently stands at £100,000 – while town council officers have estimated that if it took on the work for the financial year 2013/14 it would only have to pay between £16-30,000.
In order to carry out the contract for £100,000, the town council would have to change its financial regulations, and at a meeting of its policy and finance committee on Monday councillors agreed that they should not alter them to take on the North Somerset contract in its current state.
Committee chairman Peter Crew said: “We’re in a difficult situation now where North Somerset is just expecting us to pay the bill whatever the contract comes in at, and we need to say ‘hang on, we can’t just go for that’.”
Discussions on the transfer are to continue.
The town council is also looking to take on the maintenance of 13 flowerbeds in the resort which North Somerset Council can no longer afford to look after.
The authority is keen to take on four beds at Grove Park, two in Clarence Park and seven in Alexandra Parade, and the town council wants to get on with the work before the end of the year.
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