Report from I.W. Councillor Roger Mazillius

Posted by IWC Admin on Friday, 18th February 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 – MARCH 2011

ISLAND LIBRARIES

Further to my report last month, the consultation period on libraries has now ended with a very gratifying total response. This consultation was about a model of future operation that was considered practical by our professional libraries management and that would make a significant contributory saving to the overall Council requirement to reduce Council expenditure by up to £32m in the next four years.

These responses have ranged from “make no change to the present library service” to positive encouragement for greater community involvement. To assist the process of the core libraries in Sandown, Ventnor, Freshwater and Cowes moving more easily towards the introduction of cooperative IW Council and community library service model, the Council proposes extending the hours of operation for these sites to 21 hours per week.

All of these libraries will continue to be fully supported by the Council’s central library service which will include free training for volunteers prepared to assist in these libraries during usual opening and indeed what we hope will be extended opening hours.

It is my intention to volunteer to be trained for this most interesting and worthwhile purpose and I would welcome hearing from any others who feel the same.

Whilst Newport Library, which I know is popular with many local residents, continues to be the main library for our area I am hoping that with enhanced community involvement we will increase the number of regular Cowes library users.

In the meantime, Cowes Town Council has set up a Working Party to see how it might assist in any community involvement with Cowes Library. I expect to have further news about this in my next report.

WIGHTBUS SERVICES 30 and 32

I am pleased to confirm the excellent work of the Joint Working Party between Northwood and Gurnard Parish Councils which has met with Southern Vectis to see if replacement services for our local Wightbus can be agreed.

I understand Parish Chairman John Pullen will be updating more fully on this matter in his Parish Report but I am most heartened by certain positive news emanating from that Working Party.

COWES POLICE STATION

Police Sergeant Mike Sizer confirmed in answer to a question from me at a recent Cowes Town Council meeting that whilst the civilian Station Enquiry Officer has had his application for voluntary redundancy accepted and as a result he will leave on 31st March (and he was due to retire in any event in July this year), the front office services and opening hours of Cowes Police Station are currently under review.

However, Sergeant Sizer confirmed that there are no plans to reduce the number of Police Officers or Police Community Support Officers currently working in the Cowes Safer Neighbourhoods Team (which includes Northwood). Further the Chief Constable has stated that he wishes to protect the total number of officers in Targeted Patrol Teams, Safer Neighbourhood Teams and local crime management until at least April 2012 with the ambition of  maintaining this number through to 2015.

COUNCIL TAX 2011/12

At the Council’s last Cabinet meeting, appropriate recommendations were made to the Full Council meeting for 23rd February to ensure, if those recommendations are accepted, that there is NO increase in the level of Council Tax for the forthcoming financial year 1st April 2011 to 31st March 2012.

This is possible, despite the requirement for the Council to spend nearly £18m less next year, by a careful programme of substantial senior staff reductions, changes to the way many services are run and funded, and prudent procurement. It is vital the Council sets a balanced budget for this difficult upcoming year because the following year further savings of around £8m will have to be found in addition to continuing to have to operate carrying forward the near £18m from the 2011/12 budget.

As a member of the administration, I can assure you that we are doing all we can in these most difficult of financial times to balance the budget whilst continuing to deliver the best possible services with our reduced resources.

I will be pleased to speak to any local resident to discuss budget or any other matters further. All my contact details are at the top of this report. Also, as I am usually in County Hall every weekday for several hours each day, if it is more convenient to you to pop in for a chat whilst in Newport, just call in to Customer Services and ask for me. If I am in a meeting, they will let me know you called.

SOUTHERN WATER

Our local water company has recently announced a programme of capital spend improvements over the next 5 years in the region of £7.5m. This is aimed at reduced flooding in certain areas and making other environmental improvements throughout the Island.

Best wishes

Roger Mazillius

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