Parish Council holds on to £34,000 PCSO “windfall” as new precept is set

Colnbrook Parish Council has voted to keep the parish precept the same as last year, despite saving £34,000 on the cancellation of the PCSO contract.

Get prepared for a 3.99% hike in Council Tax next month.

The Parish Council will not pass the £34,000 PCSO savings back to residents.

Parish councillors have voted unanimously to hold on to the £34,000 savings from the PCSO contract with Thames Valley rather than pass the savings on to residents.

Colnbrook’s parish councillors were asked at the first full meeting of the parish of the New Year on Tuesday 3rd January to consider keeping the precept at last year’s level, increasing it, or reducing it.

Chair Cllr Scott Bryant delivered a report to fellow councillors , and said that funds had been provisionally allocated for improvements to the Colnbrook Recreation Ground, the football pitches and the children’s play area.

Cllr Kinane recommended that a more secure boundary fence be included and a working group would consider this, possibly in phases.

Cllr Bryant said that the precept had increased over the years in line with inflation, and more recently to cover election costs and to build up a fund in respect of these.  However, last year the Parish Council voted itself a 6% increase in the precept – which is collected through Council Tax.

Upon being put to the vote, 1 was in favour of increasing the precept, 8 were in favour of keeping at the same level and 0 were in favour of a reduction.  Three councillors – Cllr Elum-Smith, Hood and Laxman – were again absent.

In October, following the cancellation of the £34,065 PCSO contract, new Chair Cllr Scott Bryant and Vice Chair Cllr Puja Bedi circulated a revised budget for the year reallocating the savings as:

  • £10,000 to cover additional ground maintenance and inspections in Colnbrook Recreation Ground, including works to the trees, play equipment and surfacing.
  • £9,000 to a budget for repairs to Colnbrook Recreation Ground including fence repairs and the provision of a storage container with water and electrical services.
  • £5,000 to a new “Fire Tender” fund to cover works and the purchase of new firemen uniforms for use at future public events.
  • £5,000 to a new “Community Events” fund.
  • £5,000 to an earmarked reserve dedicated to a possible Colnbrook Museum and Education facility.

Parish councillors voted unanimously to back the proposal in spite of the previous suggestion that the funds could be put to use keeping a surgery in Colnbrook.  The new budget for 2017-2018 has not been shared with residents.

CCA trustee Mark Scott this week hit out at the Parish Council for treating the PCSO savings as “a windfall”, and called for the funds to be put towards increased in car and home insurance.

The decision keeps the Parish Council’s budget at £100,000 for 2017-2018.  Slough Borough Council will be informed.

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