Lewes Forum thread

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Special Expenses Petition

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On 16 Mar 2014 at 9:43pm smiler wrote:
Brilliant! In seven weeks, thanks entirely to your wonderful support, we have passed the original Signature target of 750 on-line, with several paper copies collecting more Signatures. As we still have 6 weeks to go the new target is now 1500 Signatures. As I mentioned 2 weeks ago this level will require the full LDC Council to consider our Petition, not just the LDC Scrutiny Committee. Remember that every name counts, so please encourage any adults within reach to sign the Petition. Paper copies are available to sign in Winterbourne Stores and Leicester Road Stores.
Yesterday you should all have received your latest Council Tax Demand Notice. I was shocked to see that my contribution for "Special Expenses" is in fact double that previously indicated. As you know this extra tax money is to be spent on facilities that exist now and that we already pay for through current taxation, whether we use them or not. Quite outrageous!

Check it out here »
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On 16 Mar 2014 at 9:51pm sunshine lucas wrote:
Excellent news.
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On 16 Mar 2014 at 11:51pm Voter wrote:
and perhaps the Councillors would like to remember that they are responsible to , and representative of, the electorate, not the Council. I am getting a little fed up of listing to Councillors acting as LDC PR agents.
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On 17 Mar 2014 at 12:21am bonzo wrote:
The petition is also available on a table in the front hall of Lewes Town Hall.
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On 17 Mar 2014 at 7:59am thinker wrote:
Does anyone know the fine legal position of this tax grab? I should have thought it's pretty shaky - class action against our elected representatives....
thank you to the petition organiser.
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On 17 Mar 2014 at 8:41am Old Trout wrote:
Similarly, thank you to the organizer of this petition. This proposed tax sets an appalling principle. If there really is an extra burden to be born, it should be shared equally. Our communities belong to all of us.
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On 17 Mar 2014 at 8:42am The Old Mayor wrote:
Why don't we just not pay that portion ?
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On 17 Mar 2014 at 8:52am Deelite wrote:
Yes, do that AND sign the petition.
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On 17 Mar 2014 at 10:20am Selfish snobby Lewes wrote:
So, no surprise there then, over 750 people want 70,000 people of the district to subsidise them and still pay for their own sh1t. Lovely lovely Lewes!
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On 17 Mar 2014 at 10:21am 8 miles from home wrote:
I'm having to pay 51 a month which seems reasonable to me for living near to the seaside/downs and Historic County Town. Not a lot to pay to keep our District looking beautiful and tidy. Pay your money and move on or you will end up paying all your money in one hit.
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On 17 Mar 2014 at 12:31pm Ed Can Do wrote:
Selfish snobby Lewes is right, why should we pay for things other people use? They should just abolish council tax completely and have all the services on a pay-per-use basis.

House on fire? Pay the fire brigade to put it out. Getting mugges, pay the police to come and help you (If you can get your wallet back). Install coin slots on street lights so you can feed cash into them as and when you need them to be on. I'm sure if people paid by the bag for rubbish collection there'd be less waste. After all, we generate a fraction of the rubbish in our two-person household that our neighbours with three kids do yet we pay the same to take it away.

Housing benefit would have to go of course, we can't have other people living rent-free at my expense no matter what their circumstances. Also with no kids I don't see why I'm paying for teachers, make all the schools fee-paying.

With not needing to collect any money or run any local services we wouldn't actually need a local council so the effeciency savings would be huge, I'm surprised Jimmy stopped at taxing open spaces and didn't go whole-hog and disolve the council completely, tendering everything out to the private sector because that never goes wrong...
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On 17 Mar 2014 at 1:46pm Southover Queen wrote:
Not to mention the *fact* that "selfish snobby Lewes" actively subsidises the outlying remote communities through transport and council services - to which, by the way, I don't object in the slightest. It is notable that education, transport, postal services, refuse collection etc etc are not open to politicians dipping their hands in the pot because there is an understanding that geographical inequities should be evened out by taxation. This is nasty and small minded and really must be overturned. What a splendid Parthian shot, Jimmy. Good riddance.

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On 17 Mar 2014 at 2:14pm Taxpayer wrote:
I would be interested to know who Councillors thought were representing with this awful concept. I have no problem paying extra charges if needed, but not on this appalling unethical basis.
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On 17 Mar 2014 at 3:22pm None So Blind wrote:
You know nothing and are not prepared to understand. Luckily the full extent of effort is to wang on on here and your spineless nameless intervention will do nothing. Get up and actually do something. Even your pathetic petition from self interested "not my purse" people can't even muster a decent response. At least St Mary's got 4000 signitures. Trolls!
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On 17 Mar 2014 at 5:13pm Richard Wanger wrote:
Oh dear, someone's tired.
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On 17 Mar 2014 at 6:54pm Southover Queen wrote:
Good lord: someone's missed their anger management classes this week, haven't they? I hope that the standard of debate is going to be higher on LDC in the future.
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On 17 Mar 2014 at 7:47pm Extra wrote:
Are you the Robert Plant who was speeding in a gold Jaguar down West Bromwich High Street near Grange Road and nearly killed me in 1965? If so old 'Band of Joy' done well, but you still owe me.
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On 17 Mar 2014 at 11:06pm Andrew James wrote:
I can't help noticing the only voice in support of Jimmy Page in this issue is a rather bilious one who has no facts at her fingertips, just spouting angry little personal attacks from behind a coward's shield of anonymity.
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On 17 Mar 2014 at 11:50pm Nathan R Jessup wrote:
Truth, you can't handle the truth!
 
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On 18 Mar 2014 at 8:08am Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
Does anyone know if councillors' allowances are going up this year, county or district? Don't know if they get allowances on the town council, I'm pretty sure parish councillors don't.
I don't understand why we can't use receipts from the parking scheme we don't want to pay for the parks that we do, frankly.
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On 18 Mar 2014 at 2:04pm Cliffite wrote:
Mine shows a -10% reduction in charges for LDC which works out at 157.40 so with the new open spaces charge added, I'm still better off.
 
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On 19 Mar 2014 at 5:01pm justoutsider wrote:
Quote from leaflet accompanying my Council Tax Demand - "In response to the question why has the council introduced Special Expenses? the answer given. To make the current system fairer. Until this year many residents paid throughout their local Town/Parish Council amount for the open spaces owned by their Town/Parish Council. In addition there residents also paid for Lewes District Council's open spaces throughout their general taxation."
So living in a local parish near to Lewes it seems I have been paying for opens spaces near to me and subsidising the cost of maintaining open spaces for Lewes along with other towns/parishes. Now that would be fine and all the arguments put forward rejecting this change would be accepted by me on the single proviso that the residents of Lewes were paying their costs (in addition to my subsidy) plus were subsidising my area too. I think this is not the case which is why Lewes, Newhaven and Telscombe are being asked to pay more.
 
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On 19 Mar 2014 at 5:31pm belladonna wrote:
Is there any way of either
1. organising a mass boycott ?
2. if it is not revoked, charging for non Lewes residents to access The Grange/ other playing fields etc ?
Re: 2 - there is precedent for this in other areas
 
 
On 19 Mar 2014 at 6:05pm justoutsider wrote:
Belladonna
1. Possible
2. Is that Non-Lewes Residents or Non-Lewes district residents? If the latter then you are clearly suggesting an unfair system as I have been subsidising the maintenance of such areas in my council tax even though I live out of the town of Lewes. Either way who is going to pay for the collection of this revenue such as the costs for all the kiosks for paying entrance fees etc.
Everyone in the district has being paying for this service and Lewes has been subsidised but now that situation has been addressed. Surely its right we are all paying for our own local open spaces?
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On 19 Mar 2014 at 6:21pm Eureka wrote:
Somebody finally gets it! Good luck trying to make the willful woeful anarchists on here admit they're wrong!
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On 19 Mar 2014 at 6:23pm knownothing wrote:
It is simply another stealth tax. Yes we need revenue to pay for essential services but this seems an unfair way of generating it. Claiming that C Tax is not increasing but hiding it under the title 'special'. I assume that the whole of Lewes is paying this levy? If so why not just come clean and admit that C Tax has risen by about 4%. (in my case) If it is not affecting the whole of Lewes then that is really unjust since people who live near parks ,sports grounds etc may not be the ones using the facilities. The whole local taxation sysyem based on property values is flawed in any case as it is not necessarily an indication of current wealth. For example If someone has retired and worked hard to pay for a nice home but whose income is above benefit level should they be made to pay C Tax at the same rate as when they were earning more? If they are forced to sell because of the huge and ever increasing C Tax burden is that fair?
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On 19 Mar 2014 at 6:35pm justoutsider wrote:
know-nothing you may be right about a stealth tax for all of us. That is really another argument.
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On 19 Mar 2014 at 7:49pm Another voter wrote:
I bet the amount that the residents pay in Lewes for 'their' open spaces is far in excess of the amount that residents pay for 'their' village green and flower beds! Can someone from the parish villages determine whether the cost is in excess of 60 quid a year per household? And how big is overall contract? It there were approx 7500 households paying 60 quid, that puts the landscape contract at about 450k a year!
 
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On 19 Mar 2014 at 11:02pm justoutsider wrote:
I bet, I bet ... but do you know? Oh goodness i am putting the argument forward for examining the actual terms of this new system and of course it has to be unfair because someone says.. I bet, I bet...
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On 19 Mar 2014 at 11:17pm Ed Can Do wrote:
All this talk of villages subsidising Lewes is complete nonsense. ALL taxation basically involves subsidising someone, that's the whole point of progressive taxation. The more you earn, the more income tax you pay but does that mean you get a bigger share of public resources? Of course not. In fact the chances are if you're working and paying tax for the privilege then you are subsidising every single person who's not contributing to the tax pot but using public funds, be that for income, housing or whatever.

Council tax is the same, you pay based on a banding of the value of your house. If you can afford a nice house you pay more tax, the theory being that you can afford it. Do you therefore object to this system as people in nice houses are subsidising people with smaller ones?

Now there may be a need for some rebalancing of the amounts each village or town contributes but that's handled through the various precepts. There isn't any need for this ridiculous special expenses debacle and that's why people are upset about it.
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On 20 Mar 2014 at 1:10am Wot no cupboard wrote:
Hi Ed, that's the point, it can't be re-adjusted through the precept. Currently all the towns and villages in the district other than Lewes, Newhaven and Telscombe pay for their own open spaces out of the their own precept. On top of that they pay a subsidy through their district council tax to subsidise Lewes, Newhaven and Telscombe who pay no direct contribution through their precept for their open spaces. Under the new system, Lewes, Newhaven and Telscombe can see exactly what they are paying for and what level of service they are getting. Lewes district is not saving any money from this or recovering any additional funds, the bill that comes in will be paid by the respective towns plus the existing margin. There has been a decrease in overall cost following a renegotiation with the contractor of about 100k and that has been passed on in full. The towns also have the opportunity to take on the assets themselves at no cost and manage them directly. They can also take them on and still contract the service with Lewes District if they believe there is economic benefit in doing so. Some towns in the district take their service from the district and pay in full for them in an arms length transaction through their precept. The towns may also want to consider certain assets being maintained by voluntary groups and thereby mitigating costs considerably. The new system allows total transparency to all parties, it also offers the town the ability to scrutinise the on costs that Lewes district are adding to their respective bill and challenge for greater efficiency which they have never been able to do before. Hope this helps?
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On 20 Mar 2014 at 6:39am Another Voter wrote:
Regarding transparency then. Can someone from LDC, a councillor or an officer, explain how much the new 'renegotiated' annual public spaces maintenance contract is for Lewes, who the contractor is, whether it was a competitive tender, what is being done less to make the contract cheaper, and how it equates to 60 quid a household? Maybe some more facts in the local rag might diffuse the situation. Thanks
 
 
On 20 Mar 2014 at 8:03am Numbers wrote:
AV, you were spot on with your estimates, Lewes part of the contract is about 450k. It went down by about 20k recently. Lewes represent 60% of the grounds costs. Grange gdns costs over 100k on its own as does Stanley Turner and Convent Field. The provider is a matter of record.
 
 
On 20 Mar 2014 at 8:25am lewes resident wrote:
it's just another stealth tax and a sneaky way of doing it.
 
 
On 20 Mar 2014 at 8:31am justoutsider wrote:
Ed. I can see your point regarding the first two paragraphs but Wot No Cupboard has addressed the final para in your last posting very clearly. I personally have no problem subsidising Lewes at all under the new system introduced for everyone in the Lewes District.
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On 20 Mar 2014 at 9:23am Broken record wrote:
@ lewes resident. Please can you explain how it is stealth or sneaky. It's for service in you town that is clearly explained and you've been told about it in detail
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On 20 Mar 2014 at 1:18pm Ed Can Do wrote:
The point I was (Badly) trying to make was that there are already variations in the amounts of council tax everyone pays, be that between towns or different banded property values. To then introduce this fee for living on Lewes on top seems like nothing more than a cynical attempt to appease Tory voters in the countryside at the expense of LibDem Lewes, whilst avoiding the referendum needed to whack up council tax.

It might be nothing of the sort, it might just be a really badly worded attempt at genuinely redressing an imbalance nobody has ever complained about before but like with so many things that have gone before, LDC's almost obsessive need for secrecy and misdirection with public announcement has made this look perhaps a lot more sinister than it actually is.

I am quite happy with paying more council tax than say someone in Uckfield or Ringmer. Lewes is a loveley place to live with decent amenities and I made a choice to live in Lewes rather than elsewhere, knowing in advance the associated costs. What I object to is the singling out of open spaces as something that needs paying for locally and the slippery slope this represents. The wording of this policy suggests that I pay more council tax because I use the open spaces in Lewes. Could Jimmy and his pals not see that this would immediately lead people to question why they are paying for schools they don't have kids at or buses they never use or on the flip side, why people from out of town get to use the Grange for free?

For me the issue is not really the additional charge so much as the way it has been delivered. Whoever came up with this (And I suspect it was an unelected LDC officer thinking they were being clever rather than Jimmy himself) really didn't think it through and has created a lot of bad feeling for no reason.

I think as well as council meeting being broadcast over the internet they ought to make senior managers on the council have their job appraisals live online and take questions from tax payers watching.


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Burning Crosses in Lewes 15:132
Burning Crosses in Lewes

You do know that it's 'its sage advisors'. No apostrophe required unless it's an abbreviation, or rather elision, for 'it is'.... more
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