Sunday, 1 January 2012

New Year's Message

Nettleham Parish Councillor, Giles McNeill, writes:
"Firstly let me begin with wishing you a Happy New Year.
"Recent years have been tough; tough on all of us. It is my hope that 2012 will be the year we turn the corner and get back to something like ‘business-as-usual’; even if it is somewhat anaemic.
"There is plenty to look forward to: I’m sure our community will rally together for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, already events are being planned, and I suspect in my own street we will be having a street party. The Olympic touch will pass through West Lindsey at Saxilby on its way to London 2012 games. I feel there is a lot to be optimistic about.

"In 2011 I began a four-year term as a Governor of Nettleham Infants School, already I have had a hand in making changes for the better, new provision of hot meals in the school should greatly improve the quality and dining experience of local children – gone are the plastic trays and real crockery and cutlery will be the order of the day. I expect there to be big changes in the school in 2012 and beyond.

"Serving on Nettleham Parish Council, I continue with my calls to keep local taxes low. It is my understanding that the Parish Council will be taking an extra £3.05 in tax from the average Band D property in 2012; pushing the Parish Council’s component up to £88.21 for the average household, I am also saddened that the lowest paying band, Band A, will this year pass the level the average Band D were paying when I joined the Parish Council in 2006. The increase in the tax households are pay to the Parish Council represents a massive 52.4% since 2006. I am convinced that once again Nettleham Parish Council will be out of step with other local authorities – the district & county councils – who will keep their portions of the Council Tax frozen. There are of course reasons why they can do this, support form the Conservative-led coalition government means that an increase of 2.5% or less is absorbed by the Department of Communities and Local Government. Nettleham Parish Council can not qualify for this funding; nevertheless the increase is greater than 2.5%. In a poll conducted on this blog, 58% of respondents said that raising the Parish Council’s portion of the council tax was the wrong decision.

"As Chairman of the Mulsanne Park Users Committee I have watched with interest, over the boundary hedge, in recent months, the earthworks being undertaken at the new Lodge Lane home of Lincoln Rugby Club. The earthworks appear complete and seed will no doubt be planted in the spring.

"Politically, with the change at West Lindsey District Council to elections every four years, I was expecting 2012 to be a quieter year. However, across the county, we will all be back to polling stations on Thursday, 15th November to elect Lincolnshire’s first Police and Crime Commissioner. Coming from a family of Policemen – father, grandfather, great-grandfather – I was surprised by this in the Conservative Party’s 2010 manifesto. I think there are potentially great benefits to having a directly elected person responsible for policing locally – Ken Livingston and Boris Johnson (the Mayors of London) have to some extent proved this, but the supporting role of interrogative committees, consisting solely of councillors from local authorities, seems a regressive step, back to the post-war era of the 1950s.
"I wish each and all health, prosperity and happiness for the coming year."

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