Your support for War on Council Waste
By Jonathan BarnesLETTERS of support for the East Anglian Daily Times' campaign War on Council Waste have continued to flood in to our offices.Dozens of Council Tax payers from across the region have written in with their suggestions on how authorities can slash wasteful expenditure and generate income to avoid huge tax rises next year.
By Jonathan Barnes
LETTERS of support for the East Anglian Daily Times' campaign War on Council Waste have continued to flood in to our offices.
Dozens of Council Tax payers from across the region have written in with their suggestions on how authorities can slash wasteful expenditure and generate income to avoid huge tax rises next year.
Denys Bell, from Ipswich, said: "The first thing is to reduce the number of press officers. They have six at the moment and they apparently they were incapable of dealing with an announcement that libraries would be opening on Sundays and had to use an outside contractor. They should reduce them from six to two.
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"They should reduce the number of buses pouring into Ipswich as half of them are empty, especially after 5pm. It is a monstrous waste of resources.
"The last thing is that they should reduce the number of bureaucrats as they keep endlessly increasing their staff."
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Lynda Wheatley, from Sproughton, said: "They have put traffic lights up here, there and everywhere. To me, they seem to be more of a hazard than a safety measure.
"They have twisted round the traffic in Ipswich so it goes the other way and they have put these orange things on the roundabouts, which all seems a waste.
"We need more information on what they are actually doing with their money so we can work out where they are wasting it."
Peter Beard, of Holyrood Close, Ipswich, said: "Regarding the county council's impending move to Endeavour House – are they looking at the various departments involved looking towards being less possessive of their staff and systems?
"An opportunity exists to centralise the administrative support staff services (reception, secretarial services, information technology) across all departments to cut out the duplication of staff used for this type of work and standardise the systems used, thus receive the benefits of economies of scale.
"Also, the reduction in the use of libraries must surely mean less people want the service. Instead of trying to change and increase the spending to attract the public to an unwanted service and try to justify their existence, a serious look should be made to assess the real need."
Neil Winship, of Alpheco Composting Ltd in Copdock, said: "Stop issuing households with large wheelie bins for 'green' waste.
"They lead to those without a garden or only a small one subsidising the garden waste service for those with big gardens, discourage home composting, incur the use of inefficient refuse collection vehicles and add to costs at the composting plant.
"Indeed, burning fossil fuel to dispose of wood that is itself a source of renewable energy is not environmentally friendly. Anyway, councils are not obliged to collect and dispose of garden wastes.
"Alternative methods to collect all putrescible kitchen and soft garden wastes are available. Their integration with the recovery of dry recyclables and landfilling of the much reduced amounts of residual wastes would make best use of existing assets and are forecast to cost less than current plans. Indeed Suffolk could even have surplus tradable landfill permits which it could then sell."
He added: "Engage local experts and practitioners where available rather than automatically turn to outside consultants.
"Councils often claim to seek partnership, but the officials seldom seek the specific opinions from knowledgeable people living in the district or county.
"Cease circulating so many leaflets and magazines that are inclined to self-congratulation and add to the amount of wastes paper the district councils have to collect and Suffolk County Council has to dispose of.
"All councils have websites from which parish councils, churches and schools can easily copy articles for their parish magazine. The latter is more likely to be read than the councils' magazine and most genuine news is in the EADT."
Eileen Yates, a former Suffolk County Council employee from Bury St Edmunds, suggested money could be saved in several ways.
The first was cutting down on the huge numbers of agency and temporary staff that the council employs.
She added money could also be saved on reducing "unnecessary" training courses, pegging back employees' travel allowances and not having so many "hangers-on" when dignitaries visit.
Colin Beecroft, a parish councillor in Hollesley, near Woodbridge, voiced his frustrations after bins for green waste were delivered, despite the parish council saying the village did not want them. "I would rather see the cash spent on road repairs and footpaths," he added.
Roger Sykes said: "Spending our money on opening libaries on a Sunday – in these austere times, innovation is not what is required.
"If the public can't get to a library in the six other days they are open, too bad. I expect the novelty is already wearing off.
"Every village seems to have a proliferation of signs. Beware this and beware the other. They are ignored and litter the place. Statuary speed limits and other essential signs such as 'Give way' and 'Halt' are obviously necessary, but others are complete waste of money
"Thin unnoticed red rumble strips placed across the roads leading into a village and totally unnoticed by a driver – utter waste of resources."
He added: "In the summertime, only mow corners where roadside growth obscures a corner. No need at all to mow straight verges.
"The massive roadside sweeper lorry that has taken the place of one man a brush and barrow – a useless operation.
"Finally, if income does not permit expenditure, do not spend the money. Enough already has be sloshed towards schools, hospitals and highways et al. Settle for what we have."
Bev Rolph said: "Since my husband and I retired to Clacton two years ago, we were very surprised to see black bin liners still in use. I am sure this is not cost-effective.
"The answer is wheelie bins. Not only are they cleaner and easier, it has to be in the long run more cost-effective having fewer employees and to do away with the delivery of these bin liners.
"I realise that this could result in less council staff which is not popular. However, as a retired council worker, I am finding the increase in Council Tax not acceptable."
Terry Sadd, from Haverhill, said: "Sunday opening of libraries – who asked for it and if there was a demand why have they had to spend tens of thousands promoting it ? Cost – probably millions. What's next, all night opening with librarians on triple time?
"Car parks – Ipswich Borough Council sell off car parks such as Cox Lane and then spend money advertising the one they have left. More waste of money.
"Publications – I am sick to death of receiving leaflets, brochures etc published by St Edmundsbury and Suffolk County Councils. I have not yet met anybody who bothers to read them, so they are effectively junk mail.
"Lastly for now, the number of totally 'non-value-added' staff on these councils is horrendous. One thing I do know after 27 years in industry is that asking Councils to sort these things out is akin to asking Turkeys to vote for Christmas!"
Basil Dixon, from Forward Green, said: "I would like to know where all the extra money collected for Council Tax has gone from all the thousands of new houses that have been built. I understand some go for services, but where does the remainder go?
H Warren, from Clacton, said: "I would like to suggest that when they issue the first bus pass, why not make it for life? It has your photo on it, so no-one else could use after you have popped your clogs. Surely this could make a very large saving, making it a one-off. Here's hoping."
A Pomfrey, from Nacton, said: "With the excessive rises in Council Tax, there appears to be no awareness to prudence.
"Councils should be run by local people with ability without the millstone of party dogma, which at national level serves the country poor and locally not at all.
"Councillors' expenses should be reduced by 70%, this would ensure genuine people with local interests only would participate to the betterment of all."
He added: "All employees of salary scales at £20,000 plus should ideally take a pay cut of 10% or pay freeze for three years and thereafter inflation-only.
"Inflation-only increases would coincide with a vast number of pensioners who have to tolerate this and often less restrictions.
"Finally, second home owners should pay full Council Tax. Their contribution to the local economy is greatly exaggerated and fails to compare to the domiciled populous."
n Readers can suggest ideas in writing to War on Council Waste, EADT Newsdesk, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, by telephone on 01473 324737, by fax to 01473 211391 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.