“The proposed budget was largely to place a budget surplus £18.8 million pounds into various reserve funds for ‘bringing out of the hat’ when wanted. Only £731,000 of Landscape maintenance was to be put into anything specific that will be definitely identifiable spend this year” said Paul Johnston.
“The Council officials had proposed a serious of reversals to some embarrassing budget cuts which the Tory led Administration is failing to achieve. It is only indicating essential small amounts of needed extra spending.”
During the debate Councillor Johnston had drawn attention to the large pots of money in unspecified reserve budgets. He likened Jazz band leader Fats Waller to the Council leader who was in danger of getting the nickname ‘Fat wallet’ with the amount of extra cash he is wanting to spend on budgeted items. “Fat Wallet and Fats Waller – well they are both band leaders” said Paul. “but I know who had the best tune”
Councillor Johnston however, did sound a serious warning note. “A large £8.8 million, unallocated budget held by a ruling group as a fund for what might be pet ideas, is fundamentally an undemocratic thing to do. We should avoid this kind of spending pattern.”
“We risk the public seeing this way of spending public money as a ‘slush’ fund for buying voters favours. Its dangerous and we shouldn’t be doing it.”