Wrexham Council accounts to 31 March 2013

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  • #65160

    BenjaminM
    Participant

    Jimbow, I agree 100% with your viewpoint regarding car parking charges for disabled users, as I have said on previous occasions. Some have said they should get it free because they have to go to a pay machine to get a ticket. Nonsense!!
    The reason for them using the car park is to venture further afield, eg shopping, not to sit in their vehicles admiring the views that car parks generally offer. I am sure that any disability does not prevent one putting a £1 coin into a slot.
    Or perhaps we should extend the scheme to unemployed people or low income families, who knows? Perhaps they are a more deserving case.

    #65178

    wxm
    Participant

    It was surprising to read the Council committee debate highlighting that the overspend was only 0.4% of the budget. £869,000 can make a lot of difference to a lot of individual people. It is still surprising to see that we are not seeing weekly debate about how to reshape the lines of the Council’s spend:

    £2,586,000 Central Services to the Public
    £18,292,000 Cultural and Related Services
    £27,274,000 Environmental and Regulatory Services
    £9,994,000 Planning Services
    £132,284,000 Children’s and Education Services
    £15,207,000 Highways and Transport Services
    £54,874,000 Local Authority Housing
    £61,202,000 Other Housing Services
    £58,613,000 Adult Social Care
    £3,804,000 Corporate and Democratic Core
    £1,847,000 Non Distributed Costs
    £19,344,000 Other Operating Expenditure
    £37,103,000 Finance and Investment Income and Expenditure

    If this list is correct, why can it not be spent better?

    #65156

    Arfon Jones
    Member

    It was the Chief Finance Officer, Mark Owen, who stated the overspend was only 0.4% of the budget and not Councillors. There was a lengthy debate on how the Council could reduce the overspend which was quite well reported by Wrexham.com

    The Council always ‘claims’ that it is open and transparent and perhaps you could test that by giving notice you would like to attend the next meeting to ask a question or two on the budget. Personally I would have no objections but can I suggest you email the Chair, Councillor Steve Wilson.

    #65166

    jimbow
    Participant

    WXM,
    How can the man in the street who is not an accountant make sense of the accounts? As a point,the £19,344,000 Other Operating Expenditure,if I had a breakdown of all the transactions of this expenditure, then maybe I could have some input to air on here.Unfortunately without such, I am at a loss to be able to contribute or suggest anything that would be meaningful.I would suspect that the majority of Councillors are not accountants and are therefore being led by full time officers.There seems to be very little input from Councillors.

    #65179

    wxm
    Participant

    Well the £19,344,000 seems to be:

    £1,941,000 on Community Council Precepts
    £11,154,000 on North Wales Police Precepts
    £6,269,000 on North Wales Fire Authority levy
    (£20,000) losses / (Gains) on the disposal of non current assets

    So we seem to know where that money is heading, and other governing bodies obviously need to ask whether we’re getting value for money.

    On the remaining £423,080,000 being spent (if that is correct?): Accountants count the money? Leaders and practitioners make and spend the money? Someone leading the community needs to draw up a budget that everyone can think about, and buy into? Then we need to collectively challenge ourselves to see if we can raise the total revenue needed, in doing so impact positively on earnings and education, and how we spend the money we have within our means, protecting the well-being of those in need.

    #65180

    wxm
    Participant

    Taking it line by line, another example is Democratic Core £3,804,000:

    36 councillors seem to get a basic pay of £13,175 each. 18 councillors seem to get a senior salary; starting with a Leader at £47,500 per annum, a Committee Chair gets £21,910 … and various other levels of pay including Co-opted Chair.

    This is around £1,000,000 in “pay”?

    Councillors did not use to be paid? A small number of competent officers ran the day to day Council, and reported in once a week or month. Why does the Council have paid executives, and paid non-executives?

    The lines of expenditure in the accounts are pretty straight forward, and in many walks of life, one General Manager would manage the years budget of say £50,000,000. Looking at the lines in these accounts, there are four or five areas to be managed?

    The critical matter of the state of the public finances, and the services and the support and the care that people need … there is nothing stopping us debating the detailed income and expenditure of each line. If we were at home, we would get the bank statements out, and see where the money had come from, and where it has gone, and change things for the future.

    #65181

    wxm
    Participant

    This is interesting:

    http://www.wrexham.gov.uk/assets/pdfs/financial/budget_book_1314.pdf

    Taking away all the jargon and terminology in public sector accounting, the lines in this document gives a clear indication about how money is raised and spent. The first question that always remains: is the spend £442m as stated in the “gross” column in the accounts, or is it in the order of £229m, called net.

    Page 14 of the PDF Budget Book and onwards (actually labelled Page 1), starts to provide the detailed spend and income by department.

    #65182

    wxm
    Participant

    @arfon Jones 9952 wrote:

    … The Council always ‘claims’ that it is open and transparent and perhaps you could test that by giving notice you would like to attend the next meeting to ask a question or two on the budget. Personally I would have no objections but can I suggest you email the Chair, Councillor Steve Wilson.

    Thank you for the suggestion to write and ask to attend a Council meeting. With councillors pay between £13,175 to £47,500 each, the 52 members will hopefully do a rigorous job of championing both the revenue and the spend. People on these forums are probably all very busy, but debating lines of the budget in detail, to take back to a Council meeting and make best use of the time available, is probably something people will do.

    #65183

    wxm
    Participant

    Trying to simplify the information, just taking the first line of the budget book summary page (vii): the first line is “Environment”. The detail on page 13 says:

    Expenditure:

    £9,712,410 Employee costs
    £1,682,157 Premises
    £9,221,111 Transport costs
    £2,035,007 Supplies & services
    £19,352,393 3rd Party payments
    £3,768,972 Support services
    £3,921,186 Capital financing

    £49,693,236

    Income:

    £13,974,551 Grants and other contributions
    £3,233,937 Fees, charges and other income
    £5,962,767 Recharges

    £23,171,215

    From other WCBC funds?:

    £26,522,021

    What services the money is spent on?:

    -£320,154 Cemeteries and Crematoria
    £1,336,030 Refuse collection
    £1,844,992 Other cleansing
    £11,866,827 Waste disposal and recycling
    £765,482 Countryside and P.R.O.W.
    £1,989,438 Parks and open spaces
    -£466,729 Transport division and Depot services
    £0 Departmental support
    £1,395,021 Transport Co-ordination and School transport
    £1,197,385 Engineering consultancy
    -£358,193 Car parks and Decriminalised parking
    £167,090 Road safety and School crossing patrol
    £864,890 Traffic and Transportation Planning
    £6,239,942 Highways maintenance

    £26,522,021 stated as the total budget

    But £49,693,236 is spent

    #65184

    wxm
    Participant

    Some questions on the budget book section for “Environment”:

    1. Why does the budget summary say £26,522,021 when the expenditure says £49,693,236?
    2. Does -£320,154 for Cemeteries and Crematoria mean that more money comes in than is spent on this?
    3. Does -£466,729 for Transport Co-ordination and School Transport mean that more money comes in than is spent on this?
    4. Does -£358,193 for Car Parks and Decriminalised Parking mean that more money comes in than is spent on this?
    5. Why is Departmental Support Nil?
    6. Support Services expenditure was Nil last year, and is £3,768,972 this year, why?
    7. Capital Financing expenditure was £318k last year, and is £3,921,186 this year, why?

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