Concerns over council’s spending

MEMBERS of a residents’ association have complained that 60 per cent of taxpayers’ money given to a town council is wasted on administrative costs.

Members of the newly-formed Arlesey Residents’ Association met last Thursday to discuss a number of issues in the town, including concerns about the administrative costs of Arlesey Town Council.

The residents’ association’s vice chairman, Ian Delgarno, is one of six Arlesey town councillors who quit in September.

“We got fed up with not being able to get anywhere every time we mentioned cutting costs,” he said.

“We couldn’t force through a policy of making the council more cost effective.”

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Arlesey Town Council currently has three clerks employed. Chairman of the residents’ association, Hugh Harper, who was chairman of Arlesey Town Council when all three clerks were employed, called it “totally unnecessary”.

He pointed out that a lot of town councils only have one clerk.

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When a member of the public pointed out that the clerks were employed when he was chairman, Mr Harper said: “I made it known I wasn’t that happy with it but I got outvoted by other councillors.”

Mr Delgarno added: “A lot of town councillors don’t understand the true costs of actually employing someone. To spend �1 is actually costing �1 in administration. It’s too much money.”

Mr Harper claims that 60 per cent of the council tax precept for Arlesey Town Council goes towards running the office. “We think that’s too much money being spent,” he said.

Mr Delgarno concluded: “The councillors do not understand what they are doing with other people’s money.

“You could do an awful lot more in Arlesey if the money was targeted at other things.”

Members of the residents’ association have resolved to write to the town council to raise their concerns.

Nick Daniels, chairman of Arlesey Town Council, told The Comet: “They [Hugh Harper and Ian Delgarno] presided over the council as chairman and vice chairman when there were three clerks.

“The salaries of the clerks, when you work that out against last year’s total expenses, only comes to 27 per cent. That includes their salaries, super annuation and insurance.”

He concluded: “They are trying to find fault and criticise, instead of working with us.”

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