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Reporting Back: Overspends and Road Repairs

by burylibdems on 28 November, 2017

Last week Councillor Steve Wright attended the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee:

Council Finances
Current estimates are that the Council is heading for an overspend of £3.491 million in the 2017-18 financial year.

The reasons for for the overspend are largely:
– demand for services being higher than the budget were either demand pressures (mostly adult and children’s social care)
– the Council failing to make savings that it has promised to do (the largest being leisure and waste management)
– shortfall in income – mostly car parking and commercial rents – I asked about a £80000 shortfall in the bus lane enforcement I wondered if Bury people were driving better but unfortunately it is a case of an officer over estimating the income.

The minimum safe level of balances for Bury Council is £4.250m (the smallest amount of money the Council should have to meet its commitments and deal with any unexpected urgent expenditure). At present the Council is heading to being just £0.652 over that minimum balance at the end of the year, down nearly £3.5 million in a year. Not much room for things to go wrong…..

Highways Mainenance
The report outlined plans to spend the £10 million the Council is borrowing for road repairs over three years. £1.5 million over 3 years is being spent on potholes the rest on arterial roads (no information yet where that means). Bad news for Prestwich as Virgin Media are planning a lot of fibre works so road improvements are going to happen until Virgin have completed their work.

Worryingly the report said:
“The recently announced Highway Maintenance Investment of £10million, whilst welcome, will not be sufficient to achieve significant improvements in the condition of the highway network. The rate of formation of defects will therefore continue to accelerate and with that the demands on Highway Operations will increase. Despite the proven efficiency of Highway Operations an increase in the current level of highway maintenance revenue budget is required to meet the current and future level of demand. Without this investment Bury Council will in increasingly exposed to insurance claim payouts and potential reputational damage”.

Any questions please get in touch. The full papers for the meeting are here.

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