Christmas has gone and now we are in a new year, hope you all enjoyed yourselves. We are now settling into the new Executive Structure at MDDC from last Nov, it will take time to settle down, we are all on a learning curve. The main difference is that Officers make the recommendations and the Executive make the decisions, in the place of committees. There are four Policy Groups who put MDDC's policies together and a Scrutiny Group who oversees everything, every Member is involved with the running of the Council in one way or another. But primary each Member is responsible in seeing that everyone in his Ward is being represented. If there is something that you want me to do for you, don`t hesitate to contact me for any help, that is what you elected me for. Early in the new year is the time when next years budgets has to be put together, as we all know MDDC has not had an easy time. All Authorities have to rely on grants, just over 60%, from the Government to run their services. Where DCC have had an increase to cover inflation of 5.6%, not too bad compared to other years, MDDC has had 2.1% increase, just about inflation costs. It is still too early to say what the Council Tax increase next year will be.
Post Offices are high on the agenda. There are 540 Post Offices in Devon and 50 WILL close, nobody knows which 50, we wont know until the 20th May this year. There will be a three months consultation period before that date. 50% closures will be will be rural and 50% urban, plus or minus 17%, urban is defined with a population of 10,000 plus. One of the criteria's is that 90% population has to be within three miles of a Post Office. There is no point in having a petition as that will only count as one letter, if 500 are going to sign a petition, it will be more effective for each send a letter to Post Watch.
You know Devon County sold off Exeter Airport last year and had a surplus, after covering borrowings on the Airport, of £48m. It is now intended to make good use of this money for the Community. As well as the Locality Community Budgets, (just over £1000 per Parish), each Councillor has £25k to spend in their division, mine is Willand and Uffculme. I will want some suggestions from the Nine Parishes where you would like this money spent, it does not have to be in one lump sum, it can be many differing amounts, not to exceed £25k in total, we will have a few months to think about it, so put your thinking caps on please annd let me know, or the Parish Council.
Just to let you know, your Parish Council's keep reminding me of the conditions of the roads which have been damaged after the excessive rain we have been having, I do then take this to DCC to get some action and hopefully they will be restored to better conditions, minus the potholes.
I am always here for any help you need, just give me a call, number and address in the book and hope you all have a happy and healthy year.
Devon County Councillor