HALF MILLION SAVINGS AGREED, COUNCILLOR STORMS OUT OF MEETING
The Council of the Isles of Scilly agreed £544,500 of savings for 2017/18 at an occasionally tense meeting on Thursday.
A further £298,000 of savings are still under consideration but earmarked for the medium term.
Among those confirmed are fortnightly waste collection in winter and ceasing the financial contribution to the TIC contract.
The full list is:
Apply full cost recovery on commercial waste and change to disposal method of waste - £200,000
Delegate IT function to Cornwall Council - £60,000
Delegate Finance system and function to Cornwall Council - £60,000
Fortnightly waste collection in winter and reduce street sweeping and litter collection - £49,500
Cease financial contribution to the TIC contract - £46,000
Charge admin fee on S31 grants - £40,000
Future changes to Fire and Rescue operations with Cornwall Council arrangement - £30,000
New governance arrangements for the Council to reflect different number of Councillors - £25,000
Restructure Housing and Environmental Services - £15,000
Schedule of proposed fees and charges - £14,000
Negotiate changes to the Healthwatch Contract - £5,000
Councillor Gordon Bilsborough said that he "strongly disagreed" with the £5,000 cut to the Healthwatch budget.
After talking about the importance of the service, he said: "The total budget for Healthwatch is... about £56,000.... In order to get 1% of the half million savings, you are taking away 10% of their budget."
Chairman of Council Amanda Martin responded: "I attended a meeting, as did you, where Mrs (Carol) Clarke, who runs Healthwatch, spoke very well and very firmly to the effect that these £5,000 were achievable without detriment to Healthwatch. I'd like to hope that we all think Healthwatch does a jolly good job and is a service worth protecting. If the Healthwatch officer is certain that £5,000 can be achieved without any ill-effect then I think we say thank you very much."
She added: "I'm sure we all share your concerns. These are not decisions that any of us take lightly at any level. But these figures have been worked out in conjunction with Healthwatch and that is the position as such."
As Members prepared to finish their discussion on the proposed savings, Cllr Bilsborough returned to the subject, asking Cllr Martin: "Are you saying that you have ruled out any debate on the Healthwatch cuts?"
When Cllr Martin confirmed that she had, he rose to leave, saying: "Well then I know where I stand. You are dictating what we can debate."
Cllr Christine Savill interjected: "I think that is an unfair comment to the Chairman", to which he replied: "It is not an unfair comment. She is dictating that I can't even ask what the other Members think."
He then proceeded to leave the Chamber.
The list of savings was agreed unanimously after Cllr Bilsborough's departure.