Lewes Forum thread

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Special Expenses & Petition (cont)

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On 20 Mar 2014 at 2:06pm Dead man walking wrote:
Ed Can Do said:

"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."

What a great idea! Can we start with Jenny Rowlands?

And on a related topic can anyone tell us why James Page resigned as leader of the council and why he voted for a member of the opposition to be his replacement? I am sure there is a perfectly simple reason for it, but with no evidence to the contrary one could easily wonder if he was made to jump by other Tories and then voted for the opposition in a fit of spite.

And don't forget the petition....

Check it out here »
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On 20 Mar 2014 at 3:19pm belladonna wrote:
Can we have a full break down then of what each locality pays for their open spaces ? The nonsense of this whole business is that everyone can use these open spaces/ parks from whereever they live so everyone in the escc area should be paying the same for open spaces. It should be shared fairly and as part of the council tax, not as a 'special expense' for one district only.
I don't recall anyone in Lewes being given a choice of whether they wanted to take responsibility for their open spaces as other towns and villages appear to have been. Given now that we are paying separately for them, I think we should be given that choice and using nd paying for our own open spaces as we (in Lewes) decide. This could of course mean limiting outsiders use, or it could mean charging for some sports teams to use recreation areas, or charging promoters a large amount to put on festivals at Priory field.
Incidentally - anyone know what the charge/income was to the District council for the Mumford weekend - that would probably have covered special expenses for Lewes residents on its own.....
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On 20 Mar 2014 at 3:33pm JustOutsider wrote:
Ed I can at least reason with your points even though I don't wholly agree with them. If things had stayed as they were I would be subsidising considerably Lewes, Newhaven and Telscombe in my view unfairly. If as you say this is a slippery slope then I disagree. Take one example, schools. I am quite happy to pay for schools in the district even though my son has now left school but providing also a Lewes resident or Newhaven or Telscombe resident or anyone in the district (who also has a son/daughter who has now left school) also pays. That's the analogy here with the open spaces. Bringing it back to Open Spaces I would be happy to subsidise the aforementioned towns if everyone is contributing fairly. I am in total agreement with you that the council haven't announced this very well but equally there are also of scurrilous people who have deliberately tried to mis inform the residents of Lewes.
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On 20 Mar 2014 at 3:33pm justoutsider wrote:
Ed I can at least reason with your points even though I don't wholly agree with them. If things had stayed as they were I would be subsidising considerably Lewes, Newhaven and Telscombe in my view unfairly. If as you say this is a slippery slope then I disagree. Take one example, schools. I am quite happy to pay for schools in the district even though my son has now left school but providing also a Lewes resident or Newhaven or Telscombe resident or anyone in the district (who also has a son/daughter who has now left school) also pays. That's the analogy here with the open spaces. Bringing it back to Open Spaces I would be happy to subsidise the aforementioned towns if everyone is contributing fairly. I am in total agreement with you that the council haven't announced this very well but equally there are also of scurrilous people who have deliberately tried to mis inform the residents of Lewes.
Belladonna, you want to put a halt on the petition then as the status quo is not necessarily what you think should continue? Interesting that a lot of people having gone flying towards the petition without knowing the full facts i.e. who pays what. It is interesting I was subsidising nearly 300 for this service. I wish I had known as it appears I may have been justified charging the residents of Lewes, Telscombe and Newhaven to use the open spaces I was subsidising in addition to paying for the open spaces in my area !
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On 20 Mar 2014 at 3:40pm belladonna wrote:
Are you saying your council tax has gone down 300 this year, Justoutsider ?
Personally I'd like to get rid of the district council and town council in Lewes and those responsibilities taken over by the county council. One unitary authority would be much easier and less bureaucratic and possibly even cheaper. If massive metropolitan authorities can do it, so can county councils.
 
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On 20 Mar 2014 at 3:57pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
I think unitary authorities are better too, but I think that one council the size of the whole county would too remote and not accountable enough (although LDC seems to fly in the face of accountability, this isn't the norm). I'd say an area the size of Lewes and half of Wealden would be about right.
It's a model that works very well in urban areas like the London boroughs and the met authorities, and even though a rural district is very different, I see no reason why it shouldn't.
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On 20 Mar 2014 at 4:01pm justoutsider wrote:
LDC charge has gone down by that amount but overall the total council tax charge is a little above last year.
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On 20 Mar 2014 at 4:12pm Extra wrote:
This is how I see it. LDC maintained a number of open spaces (including childrens playgrounds) in the District. But, they were charging Council Tax across the District, but not maintaining open spaces in many, particularly Rural areas, who were maintaining their
own from the Parish Precepts, so in effect LDC were charging for services not supplied. Now LDC have adjusted their Council Tax, to take this into consideration. Personally, I would like to see LDC take on everything, with a like charge across the board, this would maintain a standard across the District -which in the current LDC
maintained areas is quite high.
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On 20 Mar 2014 at 4:18pm justoutsider wrote:
Belladonna, is the charge for Special Expenses on your council tax bill greater than the reduction in the Lewes District general taxation charge?
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On 20 Mar 2014 at 5:05pm Ed Can Do wrote:
What I would like to see would be the total cost of Lewes-specific facilities so open spaces, refuse collection in town, street lighting, numbers of kids from Lewes at school etc, then the total number of households in Lewes so we can see how much each house is paying for "Lewes" expenses. Then do teh same for each parish so how much is spent on open spaces in Barcombe, how many kids are at school from Barcombe, how much goes on a bus route (Are there buses to Barcombe?) and so forth then divide that by the number of households and so forth across the district. Add a bit of weighting for house values in each area and you very quickly and easily see how much each household contributes on average to services they benefit from directly.

That would take someone with access to the data a matter of minutes to work out and would show for certain if anyone really is subsidising anyone else.

One would have hoped this exercise had already been completed before announcing the policy so surely someone at LDC can head off any unpleasantness by just publishing those figures and proving we all pay aboiut the same amount for the services we receive.

Unless we don't of course...

Any of our more helpful LDC councillors able to find out who ran the numbers on this and publish their findings for us? It's public money so the info should be publically available.
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On 20 Mar 2014 at 6:29pm High Dudgeon wrote:
I see that LDC is applying to itself for an all-encompassing licence to do all sorts of things on the Convent Field from 9am-11.59pm Monday to Sunday. Can we assume that any income generated will be used for those who have paid for the privilege of supporting this open space? Wouldn't mind betting that the logistics of that will prove too difficult to administer!

Check it out here »
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On 20 Mar 2014 at 6:51pm Southover Queen wrote:
I'd like to see the net cast a little wider - subsidised transport (which would include school buses or buses whose schedules accommodate school times), refuse and recycling collection costs (which must be very considerably higher if vehicles have to travel several miles to just a few houses) and the cost of delivering mail to remote homes. Then there are other services, such as hospital transport, care services for the elderly and other things which are going to much more expensive to deliver outside an urban setting.

I emphasise that I am happy for my taxes to continue to subsidise those who wish to live in rural areas, and I also acknowledge that most if not all of the examples I give are statutorily protected - because we ALL recognise that using taxes to spread the load protects the fabric of the whole community, and of the country for that matter. That is why I find the "special expenses" argument so profoundly dishonest - the whole principle of taxation is undermined by this. I'm not offended by the nit-picking sums, but by the dangerous principle it establishes.
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On 20 Mar 2014 at 11:32pm Peasant wrote:
It's really easy to understand.
We have a Conservative administration.
We have an election coming in 2015.
They are worried how it will go.
They have safe seats in Peacehaven & some villages.
They have no chance in Lewes or Newhaven.
The outcome will be decided in Seaford, which swings both ways and is the biggest town, and one or two marginal villages.
Conservative logic says: if we cut their council tax they will vote for us.
Special expenses is the means to this end.
It may even swing some UKIP voters back to Tory, so avoid losing 'safe' seats to UKIP
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On 21 Mar 2014 at 8:07am justoutsider wrote:
So Southover Queen what you are effectively objecting to is a wording on a piece of paper. I can understand that and I too am uncomfortable with the "Special Expenses" line on my Council Tax Notice for the reasons you have given. But the petition is about encouraging Lewes Residents not to pay a so called "unfair tax". Lewes Residents still have the 10.6% LDC discount all residents in the Lewes district have received for removing the cost of open spaces from the LDC rate. It has been replaced by the Special Expenses rate which is lower. Incidentally all the charges you mention in the first part of your post are paid for by all Lewes District residents based on your banding. The open spaces charge could have been absorbed into the Lewes Town Council (Parish) rate and no one would have noticed. Residents should be concentrating their complaint on why the Police & Crime Commissioner rate has gone up 2% and why Lewes Town Council Rate has gone up 6.9%. That is what is causing everyone's Council Tax to go up.
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On 21 Mar 2014 at 8:50am Southover Queen wrote:
"So Southover Queen what you are effectively objecting to is a wording on a piece of paper." No, I'm not. I'm objecting to the abuse of a very important principle of taxation, and I have a strong hunch that Peasant is right about the motive for it.
 
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On 21 Mar 2014 at 9:33am justoutsider wrote:
OK so if the whole thing was reversed (and this is what the Petition wants) then the 10.6% discount on LDC is removed. Your council tax rises due to town council/police commissioner rates going up and we in the rural community are asked to subsidise (at quite an unreasonable level) the cost of open spaces in the district - far more than Lewes Residents are being asked to pay.
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On 21 Mar 2014 at 4:22pm Merlin Milner wrote:
In effect the town council has only risen because of special expenses. I shall try and explain.
We (Town Council) have been in discussion with LDC for a few years to take over some or all of the open spaces in Lewes.
We have decided that we want to initially take over the rest Lanport bottom (we own half of it) and Malling recreation ground.
Mr Pickles at HM government is threatening to cap Council rises next year and if were to take these spaces over next year this would go above the 2% cap and would therefore entail a costly referendum on basically a transfer of assets between 2 Councils.
So we have decided to increase our precept to cover the extra expenses of the having these spaces before we have them.
However these extra monies this year will be going towards the Malling community centre rebuild.
It is convoluted and has been a real pain caused by LDC and Mr Pickles.
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On 21 Mar 2014 at 4:43pm Napoleon XIV wrote:
It would help if someone could provide a list of all the open spaces?
Does the term include the South Downs?
 
 
On 21 Mar 2014 at 5:57pm justoutsider wrote:
Merlin,
Had the special expenses not been brought in then Lewes Residents (that's Lewes not Lewes District residents) were going to pay for more open spaces anyway. It also appears now in a roundabout way they are being asked to pay not only within the precept but also the Special Expenses. But isn't that just the same as all the other Lewes District Residents?
 
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On 21 Mar 2014 at 6:15pm lewes resident wrote:
alright if you live in Malling then,all a total con.
 
 
On 21 Mar 2014 at 7:16pm Peasant wrote:
For the list of "Special Expenses":

Check it out here »
 
 
On 21 Mar 2014 at 7:42pm Napoleon XIV wrote:
Thanks Peasant.
Dreadful spelling mistakes too!
 
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On 21 Mar 2014 at 9:18pm justoutsider wrote:
The 10.6% reduction in respect of the Lewes District Council charge is not mentioned?
 
 
On 22 Mar 2014 at 11:17pm Cyrano De Bergerac wrote:
So WTF, now you know you've all gone quiet. Appology?


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