I WAS only going to post one more blog but then Cllr Woodley dropped his bombshell so i shall blog on that later.
The first thing to say was that the company streaming it live as a webcast well and truly failed tonight, we missed the important part of the vote as apparently the meeting had concluded before the vote was taken!!
Anyway my thoughts on the budget itself. I am not as concerned about the bins as the chamber seemed tonight and thought that until 3/4 of the way in they missed the important part of the budget which was the cut to Queensway House. This is preposterous and cutting mental health provision at a time when the number of those suffering from mental health issues is rising is appalling. I was a little more reassured by Cllr Norman’s reply but it is certainly something to keep an eye on.
I disagree with the rise on pier entry but if Cllr Woodley is correct then this will be offset by his offer. Although you would now have to ask how much income this will now bring in. I think it is ridiculous that Southend residents pay twice, once in taxes and then to use the pier itself.
I also strongly disagree with parking fare rises. The biggest reason people give for not using our town centre is the parking charges, so how is increasing this going to help boost our economy? I have thought for a long term that we should expand the parking facilities around Southend East or Thorpe Bay and the same around Chalkwell or Westcliff and introduce a park and ride scheme, less traffic around the town, calmer journeys, more car parking spaces available. We have a train line which runs in a straight line with so many stations that it is silly not to.
Also the fact that Cllr Waterworth missed the vote to go home is not behaviour i would expect a PPC but given their performance in Europe is exactly what i would expect from UKIP!
However as I said earlier, the majority of the budget is fair and it is good that libraries etc are saved. If i was a councillor i would have had to vote against it purely on the mental health issue alone which is a pity as the rest of the budget is decent.