Savings from PCSO contract will NOT be passed back to residents

Following the ending of its fractious relationship with Thames Valley earlier this year the £34,000 savings from the PCSO contract will not be passed back to residents.

Parish councillors have decided to redirect the £34,000 savings from terminating the PCSO contract with Thames Valley into other areas.

Chair Cllr Scott Bryant and Vice Chair Cllr Puja Bedi circulated copies of a revised budget for 2016/17 at the last meeting of the Finance & Policy Committee on Tuesday, 18th October.  The pair proposed that the £34,065 should be made available for other projects, with the Colnbrook Recreation Ground set to get a big share of the cash.

Cllr Bryant identified the Recreation Ground as a primary expense requiring works to the fences, trees, play equipment and surfacing, along with the proposal of a storage container including water and electricity supply.

When the cancellation of the contract was first mooted the suggestion had been made that the savings could be set aside to secure a mortgage and subsequent purchase of the Colnbrook branch surgery on the High Street.  That idea would appear to have now been shelved.

Cllrs Bryant and Budi suggested to those present that the savings should be reallocated 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 to allow councillors and their consorts to dress up at future public events as they did during June’s Queen’s Birthday celebrations.
  • £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 leadership’s proposal.

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Councillors also agreed at the meeting to:

  • Show the £4,500 allocated for the funding of future elections as an “earmarked reserve”.  That rectifies one of five issues identified with the Parish Council’s in July following the debacle of last year’s Cheema-gate affair.
  • Make minor adjustments/amendments to accounting codes to allow for “improved Christmas lights, litterbins and dog bins”.
  • Consolidate budget headings “to make things simpler”, likely to reduce the transparency to residents.

Cllr Laxman proposed and Cllr Smith seconded the revised budget, which will show a break-even position on the year.

The windfall to parish councillors follows a 6% uplift in the parish precept added to Council Tax bills in January to pay for the cost of last year’s by-election and a previously unscheduled Spring newsletter.

Following a request about the provision of Christmas Trees by Cllr Elum-Smith, Cllr Bryant suggested that, subject to cost, the remainder of the revised budget be spent on new lights. £3,000 is currently allocated in the budget but last year’s relationship with Datchet Parish Council will not be continued.

Cllr Hood advised that he along with Cllr’s Angell and Smith had attended a meeting with Langley Health Centre and reported that negotiations on the rent are continuing. If a surgery in the village is not possible a daily transport system to the Langley surgery is under consideration.

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