Labour cut waste collection, road maintenance, community centres, libraries, elderly persons homes, ice clearance, job training and Social Services.

Cuts to street level services click to enlarge

Cuts to street level services click to enlarge

Labour’s hopelessly misjudged Council budget proposals are set to be approved tonight. Cuts to all front line public services are planned yet

Labour also intend to retain a £1 million a year “slush fund” which is used to pay for a range of inessential “vanity” projects.

The £1 million this year has been used to pay for lighting and firework displays, free WiFi access in the City centre, a plan to open the Bonding warehouse as a “digital media hub”, building design competitions, an “innovation catalyst” programme; not to mention the occasional foreign travel trip.

More waste is evident in the Councils capital programme where commitments to introducing an unnecessary Citywide 20 mph speed limit and the purchase of a barge for use as an arts centre have seen interest payments, on borrowed money, double since Labour took control of the Council.

Abandoning these “vanity” projects and making good use of the reduced running costs (down by £375,000) of its new HQ would allow the Council to restore many of the most damaging cuts.

Labour’s key proposals would see:

A 1.9% hike in Council tax levels (despite central government offering to underwrite the costs of a freeze)

• Privatisation or outsourcing of leisure/swimming pool management the Warden Call service and the “Sheltered housing with extra care” service. Even the Mansion House will be commercialised

Grants to Museums Trust cut by £100,000, the Theatre Royal by £101,000 with similar % cuts other voluntary sector bodies

• At a time when people are rightly worried following revelations about meat quality, trading standards faces a £42,000 cut, while there will be less air quality monitoring.

• There will be less for job training as Future Prospects loses £150,000

• The closure of elderly persons homes will be brought forward meaning that some residents face double moves before new accommodation is completed. In 2014 pensioners will face a 90p charge when using their passes on Park and Ride services

Disabled facilities at Greenworks and Brunswick Nursery cut by £50,000 Supported employment budget cut by £200,000 forcing disabled people into “mainstream employment”

Social Service clients with personal budgets will lose out from a £500,000 budget cut

Looked after children – basically those with foster parents – face a £700,000 cut with another £400,000 to come off in 2014.

Respite services get a £50,000 reduction.

Children’s centres face a £128,000 cut in 2014

• The toy library bus will scrapped in 2014

Some reductions in expenditure were inevitable.

Labour have simply chosen to economise on the wrong services.

Meanwhile there are some concerns about the likely quality of tonights Council debate

Petition against green bin emptying tax started

York Liberal Democrats have launched a petition against Labour’s plans to introduce charging for green bin collections. It can be found here

Green Bin

The Council is asking residents to complete an “on line” questionaire. Click here to find it.

Remember though that it is the Labour Council that has decided to “save” £250,000 from the waste collection budget. They could – and in our view should – have looked to make the savings from other budgets such as abandoning the provision of “free” WiFi services in the City centre and cancelling the the introduction of the unnecessary 20 city wide speed limit

The background information papers pointedly fail to tell residents how much additional Landfill Tax the Authority will have to pay if, as expected, the amount of green waste put in grey bins increases. Any increased landfill payments would be passed on to all Council Taxpayers – not just those with gardens.

At last week’s Cabinet meeting the ruling Labour Group agreed to bring forward plans that could involve charging for garden waste collections (either all year round or between March and November), charges for additional garden bins, or stopping all winter collections.

City of York Council has refused to confirm how much the fees will be or what the impact will be on recycling rates and Landfill Tax. After the controversial closure of Beckfield Lane Tip last year, the Council is missing recycling targets and a report last week admitted that the authority was “underperforming” slipping to 260th in recent recycling performance tables for England. Meanwhile, missed targets mean Landfill Tax is due to reach a record £3 million this year.

In Derby, the Labour run Council are planning to charge residents £40 per year to have a garden waste bin and £20 for each additional bin, while in Newcastle 40,000 residents returned their bins after the Council introduced fees.

Cllr Ann Reid, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Environmental Services, commented:

“We fear that introducing a charge for green bins will further increase Landfill Tax charges and fly-tipping while recycling rates will fall. Labour are focussed on the short-term income generated from charging residents, but have made no budget provision for paying more Landfill Tax or for clearing up more fly-tipping.

“The move also breaks a promise to residents. When alternate weekly collections were rolled out the Council entered into a contract with residents. In exchange for a reduced grey waste collection residents would be encouraged to recycle and provided with a suitable collection regime and containers to do so. This meant that under the Lib Dem administration recycling rates increased from 12% to 43%. Charging for green waste breaks this contract and is effectively an extra tax on residents who want to do the right thing and recycle.”

NB. The Council is also planning to reduce the operating hours of the Towthorpe recycling centre and to ask all those using the Hazel Court and Towthorpe facilities to produce proof of being a York resident before being allowed free access to the sites!

Now litter bins disappearing in Acomb

Hi tech litter bin on Front Street

Hard on the heels of disappearing lampposts, not to mention the Council branch office on Carr Lane, residents have reported the loss of several litter bins from the Front Street shopping area.

£3000 hi tech bin on Front Street

They have been replaced by one of the new hi tech bins which reports itself when full.

£400 conventional bin

Earlier reports had suggested that this type of bin would be trialled in the City centre. It seems now that Acomb residents will be the guinea pigs for these bin trials as well.

The new bins are much more expensive than convention bins and, of course, some residents are not inclined to walk very far to find a litter bin

Litter neatly stacked on Front Street 10 metres from a bin!

Beckfield Lane recycling centre users backing petition

Former Coucnil Leader Andrew Waller joins Richard Hill in collecting signatures on the petition

About half a dozen residents were outside the Beckfield Lane recycling centre today collecting signatures on the “Save Beckfield Lane Recycling Centre” petition.

Around 100 signatures were collected in the first hour with many users taking forms away to collect more support.

Volunteers are required to help collect signatures at the centre on Sunday. Ring Andrew on 337757 or Reuban on 781589 if you can help or if you would like a poster or car sticker to display.

Save Beckfield Lane recycling centre campaign gets timely boostas £3 million bill hits York taxpayers

click to enlarge

The Council has admitted that it is York is “slipping behind other unitary authorities, who have introduced alternative waste management methods and strategies”. This is despite a forecast 2% increase, in the amount of waste recycled by residents, by the end of the year (47.01% compared to 45.1% in 2010/11).

The failure to invest in reuse and salvage, coupled with the pending closure of the Beckfield lane recycling centre on 10th April, means that taxpayers will pick up a bill for £3 million in landfill tax penalties this year.

The petition to keep the Beckfield Lane facility open is getting good support. Anyone who can help to gather signatures on a petition is asked to contact Reuban Mayne on York 781589

Petition to save the Beckfield Lane recycling centre launched

Reuban Mayne outside the Beckfield Lane recycling centre

A petition is circulating in Acomb calling on the Council to reprieve the Beckfield Lane recycling centre. The Centre is due to close after Easter as part of the Labour Council’s cuts programme.

An alternative Salvage and Re-use centre, which was to have been provided at Harewood Whin, has also been axed.

Funding to continue the Beckfield Lane facility would be found by halting the “free” roll out of WiFi access in the City centre.

The petition has been organised by local Acomb resident Reuban Mayne who can be contacted on York 781589

The petition should be available to sign “on line” shortly.

Green Belt wind turbine approved

A 5.5 metre diameter wind turbine is set to become a feature of the landscape on the A59 Boroughbridge Road following a decision by the York planning committee. The turbine tower is being constructed at the Nairobi Stables and will be 9 metres high. Permission has also been granted for a detached garage which will be used to house equipment and to store vehicles. The power from the turbine will be used to generate electricity for a nearby dwelling and café. It is expected to generate about 9000 KWh per year.

Spring clean

  

Ascot Way

 

   

Walking around Westfield in the sunshine over the last few days it is clear that the winter weather has taken its toll. So we’re organising a spring clean and inviting residents to play their part. 

The Council are already working flat out to repair the potholes that have appeared in the roads. The first cut of grassed areas is already underway and will be completed before Easter.  

We’ve reported areas where there is still some tree detritus to be removed (above photo was in Ascot Way) 

The Council are working with the Tidy Britain Group to launch ‘Love Where You Live’, as the introduction to engaging with residents during the coming weeks.   

 

The Brunswick Nursery is producing a planter for Tadcaster Road and 105 trees are to be planted on Saturday by the Foxwood residents. In addition a planting programme has started in Clarence Gardens. 

 Additional areas are to be allocated to Community Payback and they will start on these areas next week. York Cares will be given some group projects and environmental work and these activities should start just after Easter. The Street Environment Officers are developing schedules with York University where groups of volunteers will go into an area, under Council supervision, and do a ‘clean up’. This work will be aimed primarily at the areas with high numbers of student occupied homes. 

  Work which can be done on hedge cutting is currently limited, but the Council has carried out work around allotments and known areas where hedges are overhanging the highway. The full service will not start until after the nesting season. 

 The cleaning of traffic islands starts next week, as we hope, by now, we have seen the last of the gritting. Early morning Sunday work will take place on the main, high traffic roads, complete with the appropriate traffic management. Residents should start to see an improvement by the middle of next week, but the full programme will last around a month.   

The Council hopes to get into more ‘hammer heads’, than ever before. However, if there any you would like us to deal with quickly with a specific cul de sac, then please let us know using the form which can be found on this website. 

 All the roundabouts are currently being re-landscaped using sponsorship money. Full planting of summer flowers is scheduled for May, in readiness for the Britain in Bloom judging. There are 21 organisations working with us towards the ‘In Bloom’ competition. 10 are new this year including organisations such as Friends of Acomb Green. 

 The scheduled cleans of the terraced streets have been re-planned for the coming year. All will get one clean where parking restrictions will be imposed and gully cleaning, surface repairs and sweeping will take place. The street will be re-visited again after 6 months, requesting residents to move their cars. 

 In the past the full highways inspection has been done during May and June. This has been brought forward and will start the first week in April. The advantage being that work can be planned in much earlier. All temporary repairs will be checked out and a permanent repair completed as necessary. 

Please help with the spring clean by ensuring that gardens are tidy & that hedges and trees cut back from neighbouring properties and from the public footpath.  

We will be scheduling shortly the annual rubbish collection day when refuse and recycling vehicles tour the ward removing unwanted items. We will publicise details on this web site shortly. 

  

Free Compost from the Council

The free compost giveaways will be going ahead again this year, in partnership with Yorwaste Ltd. There will be a giveaway on the 1st Sunday in every month between March and October. Please see the dates below:

Sunday 6th March

Sunday 3rd April

Sunday 1st May

Sunday 5th June

Sunday 3rd July

Sunday 7th August

Sunday 4th September

Sunday 2nd October

Compost can be collected from Harewood Whin, Tinker Lane (off Wetherby Road) from between 9.30am and 2.30pm. Residents must bring along a suitable bag or container to put the soil improver into and a shovel, as the compost is not bagged. We are advising people to visit the site as early as possible as there is a limited quantity of compost and it will go on a first come, first served basis.

We are hoping that the giveaways will be as popular as last year when we estimate that we gave away over 1,600 tonnes of compost. This year we are also starting the giveaways earlier in the year due to popular demand.