Members have previously agreed that they want to leave the Knowle site in a manner that is cost effective and does not add to the Council Tax bill of East Devon’s residents.
Cabinet: 11 March 2015: Relocation Decisions
However, Council Tax is going to rise:
Futures Forum: Councils are planning tax rises to cover the mushrooming cost of social care
And costs are also on the rise - and significantly:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: of devolution and rising costs
The promises of a 'cost neutral' relocation are not baring out:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: on being 'cost neutral' and 'fit for purpose' and asbestos free >>> comparing the Knowle and Exmouth Town Hall sites
As the East Devon Watch blog points out:
EDDC: WHAT’S MORE IMPORTANT: PROTECTING ESSENTIAL SERVICES OR LOSING MONEY ON RELOCATION?
13 DEC 2016
That’s the stark choice facing EDDC councillors tomorrow.
There is NO WAY out of the situation that, relocating to Honiton and Exmouth, will cost an enormous amount of money compared to refurbishing Knowle.
No matter how creative you get with the numbers and how much they are massaged – THAT is the reality.
This is a problem entirely of the majority party’s making:
It willfully neglected Knowle for at least a decade to justify its case for a move;
It deliberately withheld figures on running costs for Knowle to improve its case for a move;
It negligently refused to do a full structural survey on Exmouth Town Hall that massively understated the real cost of refurbishment;
It promised a ”cost neutral” move when that was patently impossible to achieve and where costs have spiralled out of control at dizzying speed;
It wants us to pay a 40 year loan for its new HQ that was never anticipated.
None of this would matter if EDDC was a rich council with vast reserves and a gigantic income.
It is not.
It is a council that is draining its reserves rapidly, selling off its assets at break-neck speed to fund day-to-day costs and whose income, thanks to government cuts, is precarious to say the least.
Yet, almost certainly it will close its eyes, hold its nose, cross its fingers and vote to continue down this path of profligate, ever-increasing expenditure because it is not big enough to admit it made a terrible mistake.
And who will suffer? Not the officers and councillors in their more-expensive-than-ivory tower.
We, the council tax payers, with a debt millstone round our necks for the next 40 years with our diminished or non-existent services.
Your call, councillors, your call.
EDDC: what’s more important: protecting essential services or losing money on relocation? | East Devon Watch