County council £22.7m underspend

March 7, 2013 12:00 AM
By Cllr Malcolm Cowan
Readers who saw in last week's WHT that Herts County Council is expecting to have Moneya surplus of £22.7m must be wondering how that money could be used - money which they gave in council tax expecting it to be spent on services, rather than being used to prop up long-term capital projects.
Luckily, the LibDem opposition had plenty of good ideas on what to do with the surplus, which is a one-off, to improve people's lives.
We expected to add another £1m from additional savings on things like less self -publicity (up to 62 press releases sent out in per day, none appearing in most newspapers).
So we suggested an additional one-off boost of £13m on more roads and footway repairs, and smaller amounts on things like
* extending the half-price Savercard to all youngsters under 19
* allowing councillors to turn back on some of the s treet lights that currently go off at midnight
* better bus services, including an express service from St Albans through Hatfield and WGC to Stansted to reduce cars on the road
* better snow clearance outside schools
* expanding the council's apprenticeship scheme
* protecting the school crossing patrol service
As we have become used to seeing, the Tories turned every idea down flat ('not invented here') and Labour, who did not put forward any proposals, abstained.