Forgive me if you are familiar with the Boundaries Commission, but that is the most talked about topic within DCC at the moment. The Boundaries Commission asked DCC and MDDC to put forward their views on Unitary Council. This means that a Unitary Council would provide all the services that DCC and MDDC and put it all under one management. DCC put theirs, which was the whole of the County of Devon to be Unitary status. MDDC view was that they should stay as they are, but with joint working with other District Councils, but if they had to be Unitary, they would join up with East Devon DC and Exeter City. The Boundaries Commission liked DCC`s proposal, rejected MDDC`s and all the other District Councils, and has now put this recommendation to the public for consultation to be received by 26th Sept.
Within this recommendation is the suggestion that there should be 28 Community Boards based on the 28 largest Devon Towns, our area Board would be Cullompton.
There would be a reduction of Councillors, from about 400 for the whole of Devon to around 100, the question will be, can the public have a fair representation with so few Councillors.
Parish and Town Councils will be unaffected. On our local Cullompton Board there will also be about 4 Town and Parish Councillors drawn from all our Town and Parish Councils. This will be the body that will oversee the spending and operations of that Board.
I am concerned about this for the rural Parishes, far away from Cullompton, will they get a fair cut of the funding.
The object of the Unitary is to save money, big is beautiful, the theory and concept is good, but nobody yet have seen any costings of what the savings are likely to be. When Exeter applied to go Unitary, they said it would cost £6m and DCC said it would cost £20m. Someone must be wrong.
I bet the costings of County and the costings from all the Districts will differ, depends what you want to hear. By the time you get this, the costings my be available. All I can say is, have your say, respond to the Boundaries Commission with your concerns, they want to hear from you.
This will be one of the biggest re-organisations with Devon that has happened for the last 35 years.
MDDC are doing much better, they seem to have got a grip of the finances, at the end of year they produced an under spend of £832k on their budget. They will have to keep a close eye on their budgets, as we all know, costs are rising faster than we would like. DCC did under spend, but only by £77k.