Report from I.W. Councillor Roger Mazillius

Posted by IWC Admin on Friday, 20th May 2011, 00:00

 

COUNCILLOR ROGER MAZILLIUS
I.W. COUNCILLOR FOR
COWES SOUTH & NORTHWOOD
21 OXFORD STREET, NORTHWOOD
ISLE OF WIGHT PO31 8PT
Tel: 01983 295556
Email:
roger.mazillius@iow.gov.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

REPORT – JUNE 2011

My report this month is in the form of my May Annual Report to Northwood Parish Council.

The past year has seen the Isle of Wight Council having to respond to the largest reduction in government funding in modern times. This equated to the need to find spending reductions for the current year of around £16m with further reductions for 2012/13 of £8m in addition of course to carrying forward the £16m less expenditure from 2011/12.

To further concentrate the Council’s mind on strict budgetary controls, if the Council kept any increase in the rate of Council Tax to 2.5% or less, the government would make a payment equivalent to that increase, thus ensuring there was no increase in Council Tax for the present year. I am pleased to report that this has been achieved.

However, the I.W. Council has had to address these financial issues in several ways including reviewing the size of our workforce and the way we deliver services and indeed the variety of those services. To achieve a balanced budget, these difficult decisions have had to be fully addressed including a workforce reduction of senior management and below, changes to library and public conveniences provision and local Wightbus services as well as changes to funding adult social care.

Much of this has been achieved or is in the process of being achieved, in partnership with Parish and Town Councils. I am pleased that Northwood Parish Council has fully engaged in this process. This has meant a focus on the provision of these local services which I am sure will result in an improvement in service provision with more or complete local control. A good example of this is the way the Parish Council has led the way in organising a Community Bus Service to replace the present Wightbus service.

In the meantime, the Council continues with its flagship PFI highway programme, recently given further government approval delivering up to just under £500m in cash terms of highway infrastructure improvements over a 25-year build and maintenance programme expected to commence in 2013.

I am pleased to report that the Cowes One School Pathfinder project is now well into its building programme, delivering the most modern educational facility on the Island.

In addition, to achieve substantial six-figure annual revenue savings, the Council is leaving satellite accommodation, much of it rented, to move some 350 staff into County Hall. The costs of this will be achieved by selling off surplus property owned by the Council and vacated as part of the move into County Hall and of course the ongoing revenue savings from those vacated premises. The building programme including improved customer service areas and publicly accessed Committee Rooms and disabled access has commenced and is expected to be complete by the middle of next year.

All these measures mean the I.W. Council will in future be costing Council Tax payers less to run with even further financial savings being required by central government during 2013/14 and 2014/15.

Locally we are now engaged in the consultation over the land allocated for proposed housing development under the Island Plan. With numerous sites identified as deliverable in this context within Northwood both the Parish Council and myself have arranged briefings for residents to explain the process in detail and to listen to concerns about the possible scale of such development.

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The public briefing re the local housing allocations takes place just after the printing deadline for this month’s Northwood News so I will be reporting on this in the next issue.

Also the Community Bus Scheme is moving ahead at a swift pace as we move into the volunteer driver timetable and detailed negotiations with Southern Vectis and the I.W. Council.

As before Northwood with Gurnard Parish Councils are amongst those leading this process and I shall again be updating this with, I am sure, John Pullen next month.

Finally, we will be planting out the summer plants at the end of May. Volunteers to lift the old and plant the new are most welcome.

Please contact myself or any Parish or Partnership member for further details.

Best wishes to all

Roger

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