Pensioners question 'missing millions'
NORTH Somerset Council has over estimated its waste collection budgets by more than £2.7million over the past four years, according to Weston Senior Citizen s Forum.
NORTH Somerset Council has over estimated its waste collection budgets by more than £2.7million over the past four years, according to Weston Senior Citizens’ Forum.
Members of the campaigning group have been looking into figures published in the council’s budget monitor reports, which assess the finances.
Forum chairman Ken Lacey says the council estimated how much they would have to pay contractors to deal with North Somerset’s rubbish, but the actual cost has been significantly less. The forum is now demanding that the council tells the public where the missing millions have been spent.
Mr Lacey said: “Over the past four years the council has saved around £2.75million on the budgets it created for waste and recycling collection.
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“Between 2003 and 2004 the budget was overestimated by £880,000 and the next year they saved £579,000.
“Between 2005 and 2006 they overestimated by £751,000 and in the year up to April 2007 they saved £531,000.
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“These overestimates were due to the significant reduction in the weight of waste going to landfill sites and also delays in implementing schemes such as a waste strategy and curb side recycling collections.
“With this huge amount of money not used by the council for what it was intended, this means our council tax could have been reduced.
“I think the people in North Somerset are getting a raw deal.”
A North Somerset Council spokesman said: “ Each year the council reviews its waste strategy and makes projections regarding the amount of waste expected, based on national growth forecasts and local trends. Inevitably, these estimates
are never proved to be completely accurate, particularly when short term variables, which are difficult to predict, come into play.