Morecambe Town Council chairman hits back

Morecambe Town Hall.
Morecambe Town Hall.

The chairman of Morecambe town council has defended the council after accusations they are ‘hoarding taxpayers’ money’.

Nick Baxter wrote in response to David Brayshaw’s column in The Visitor on August 12, which said the town council was keeping too much of our money to one side for “a rainy day”.

Mr Brayshaw, chairman of Morecambe Carnival committee and who will soon be standing for town council in the Heysham North by election, also accused the town council of “failing to fully utilise the small amount of money that was collected from us.”

But Mr Baxter said: “Far from sitting on our hands, the town council is actively working to enhance the town for the benefit of the taxpayers with the funding available to us and within the bounds of our remit.

“As with everything else in this world if more is wanted then more money will be required and this can only be facilitated by and increase in the precept from Lancaster City Council which will, in turn, require an increase in the council tax collected from the Morecambe tax payers.”

The town council currently takes £175,000 annually from council tax, which has gone down from £225,000 after a Government rule change.

The council carried forward £85,000 of unspent funds at the end of 2013/14.

This year’s town council budget includes £57,080 on staffing and administration, £500 on staff and member training, £65,000 on festivals, £180 on bin emptying at an allotment site, £1,500 on tackling litter and dog fouling, £11,845 on giving out small grants, £1,350 on Morecambe Dance Festival, £67,608 on PCSOs (Police Community Support Officers), £55,000 towards a community centre/town council office, £50 on a Remembrance Day wreath, £6,000 on a by-election fund, £6,000 on Christmas lights and decorations, £3,600 for a flagpole on the Stone Jetty and £36,490 on special projects - a total of 312,203.00.

Mr Baxter said the special projects fund covers such schames as upgrading the war memorial, bringing back a bandstand to Happy Mount Park and enhancing local railway stations.

Morecambe town council was formed in 2009 following a public campaign.It is as an entirely separate entity to Lancaster City Council and operates as a parish council with limited powers compared to the city council.