PEOPLE living in Warndon, Worcester, have expressed concerns that a parish council’s controversial budget increase is to cover the cost of services that the city council should be paying for.
As reported in yesterday’s Worcester News, Warndon Parish Council voted to up its part of the council tax by 16 per cent at a meeting on Monday.
Chairman Ray Morris said the increase would cover tree and shrub maintenance and potential pathway work – the need for which was highlighted in a presentation by Warwick Neale, the city council’s parks green network officer, at the parish council’s meeting in December.
But speaking during public question time at Monday’s meeting, local Andy Murphy said: “Speaking to others about the rates going up for cleaning up hedgerows and roundabouts, that isn’t the parish’s job – it’s the city council’s job isn’t it? Why aren’t they doing the job themselves?”
In response, chairman Ray Morris said: “The city council is under big pressure in order to cut its expenditure.
"The city will take on anything that becomes dangerous, but not maintenance.”
Another Warndon resident said: “We seem to be having quite a large percentage increase – I’m extremely worried.
“Can you justify it? As you pull more money into this, the city council will think great, we can start backing off.
“I’m not sure such a large increase is warranted.”
The city council already provides street cleaning, refuse and recycling collections and grass cutting services to Warndon and the parish council pays about £3,000 for extra dog bins, £6,000 towards the environmental warden and about £8,000 for enhanced grass cutting services.
But there are concerns that the parish council is budgeting about £10,000 to carry out work that should be paid for by the city and county councils and that people could actually end up paying twice for the same work to be carried out.
One of the main issues highlighted by the parish council during its debate on Monday night was work on an old oak tree, which will cost £2,857.
But parish council vice-chairman Marc Bayliss said the jobs identified by the parish council could potentially be carried out by the city or county councils, depending on who owns the land.
Speaking after the meeting, Councillor Bayliss said: “If you’re not very careful there’s a danger that people will be paying for things that the city or county would be paying for anyway.
“I’m a resident of Warndon Villages and I don’t want to pay twice for anything.”