Council has nowhere to go

Thank you for outlining the cuts that EDDC are proposing to make by removing many of the services that StreetScene apply in Exmouth. There is a big but, however, that I am sure many of your readers will not need to be reminded about.

Thank you for outlining the cuts that EDDC are proposing to make by removing many of the services that StreetScene apply in Exmouth.

There is a big but, however, that I am sure many of your readers will not need to be reminded about.

This is because, overall, the money that is being quoted as either needing to be saved to balance the books or that which will have to be drawn from reserves are already well documented and forecast at the time of the last budget exercise.

It cannot be a chance occurrence that the shortfall in the budget is almost exactly that which it was forecast would be seen as a result of the zero increase budget set last April, at which time EDDC were advised by the opposition members that they could expect a shortfall in the region of �1.8 to �2 million.


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Secondly, there is a remarkable similarity in the amount that the projected cuts will make with the amount (circa �220k) that EDDC used from its funds to finance the failed Judicial Review and High Court appeal against the Boundaries Committee report on the proposed changes to the structure of local government in Devon.

EDDC, when in the budget-planning period, have done this before.

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In the six months before the last council elections, they approached the town and parish councils with a very similar request as they proposed this year and suggested that the local precepts could be used to increase the sum of money available, so that those town and parish councils could take on some services. Exmouth set an increased precept to allow for this but EDDC then found they could still fund them after all. Exmouth councillors were then accused of raising their precept unnecessarily and subsequently were not re-elected at the following elections.

The present town council has nowhere to go. If the ruling group admit that they could accept responsibility for some of the services and should raise the precept to allow EDDC to pass the costs of those services to them, then they will be seen to obeying their master's voice at Sidmouth. If they do not accept this, then they will be seen as the group that refused to help out and to have plunged Exmouth into a dark and desperate downward spiral that will only end in their demise as a creditable and trustworthy council.

At the last election they played a canny but dirty game, which is just about to come back and bite them where it will hurt.

Ron Roberts,

10 Littlemead Lane,

Exmouth.

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