We mentioned last week the deliberate running down of facilities by successive Boston Borough Councils – and now we’re seeing the same thing happening to the borough’s poorer wards.
Who’s the culprit?
Step forward Boston’s Town Area Committee – B-TAC for short. We used to call it B-TACky– but it now merits a new title to describe its recently re-written role.
Our suggestion is B-TAKE – and here’s why …
As with Boston Borough Council as a hole, B-TAKE has a constitution – defined as “a set of political principles by which a state or organization is governed.”
But apparently this is not the case in Worst Street.
The constitutional rules governing the way B-TAKE’s income is spent were set out years ago in an easy-to-follow summary – although members apparently have difficulty coping with the wording.
Two key paragraphs are worthy of note.
The first reads: “The purpose of a Special Area Expense Account of course is to … provide services in part of its area which elsewhere in the borough would be the responsibility of a parish or town council.”
And the second says: “Obviously the only items which can legally be charged are items provided exclusively or mainly for its residents. If the wider population use facilities they are properly subject to the council-wide council tax.”
Notwithstanding this, earlier this year B-TAKE increased council tax for its 13,000 despite being predicted to end the year with reserves of around £50,000.
Apparently the idea is to try to improve the availability of toilets in the town centre by accumulating a slush fund for the secretive Prosperous Boston Committee – 60% of whose members serve on BTAC – to help deliver some non-statutory services.
The first of these turns out to be the funding of this year’s Christmas lights – which Worst Street ignored to the point where it was too late to seek alternatives – and which has now been “rescued” by B-TAKE to the tune of £35,000.
One reason for this is that when portfolio funding was allocated for this year all areas bar one were allocated a budget.
The odd man out was the town centre – whose portfolio holder was assigned a negative budget of £286,000 – and who led the Christmas lights begging list alongside the well-funded Leisure Services portfolio holder.
So B-TAKE is now spending on borough-wide projects that benefit visitors as well – money which should come from Worst Street’s central kitty.
To make matters worse, Boston Big Local – which received £1m to improve specifically named deprived wards – is also spending well beyond its geographical remit, so the residents affected lose out not once but twice.
The party distribution of B-TAKE’s 14 member is: UKIP: 7. Conservative: 4 (or 5 if you include one so-called “independent.”) and Labour: 2.
Whilst we expected the “independent” and Labour to snuggle up to the Tories, we are disappointed that UKIP is following suit.
Should any members wish to re-think their connivabnce with the ruling group to the impediment of the people they claim to represent, B-TAKE’s constitution and terms of reference can be found here
Footnote: “He that always gives way to others will end in having no principles of his own.” ― Aesop