Grantham Journal letter: We have a duty to spend wisely

Mayor of Grantham Linda Wootten
Mayor of Grantham Linda Wootten
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I wish to comment on Mr Taylor’s letter entitled ‘Budget should not have been cut’ (Journal, January 27).

His letter is full of veiled comments and clearly he is out of touch. I wondered if he attended the same meeting as I did as the budget was passed by a cross-party majority.

His comments that non-Conservative members are treated as second-class citizens are quite frankly preposterous. For his information, an opposition member was approached to take on the role of deputy mayor but this was declined. Cross-party members are also supporting the possible creation of a town council should a unitary authority become a possibility.

The current mayor has managed the office and the budget, making savings in particular due to the generous offer of a loan car from Kia, which has saved the office a considerable amount from the budget. Also, new employees have been taken on with clearly defined roles, again saving money. The budget is set each year and with the savings made it would be grossly negligent to precept for more than we need, as there will be a large underspend in this financial year.

As mayor, my wife Linda has used her own vehicle to travel to local engagements and even walked from the parlour to engagements in the town centre. The budget was costed out by two independent trustees who both run their own businesses and deal with financial matters.

The county chairman, who is the first citizen of Lincolnshire, now drives himself to engagements and many town mayors do not have a car and across the county and neighbouring authorities there are cutbacks on unnecessary expense.

As trustees we have a duty to ensure that every pound is spent wisely. There is no suggestion of curtailing mayoral duties which are civic and ceremonial only. There is also nothing constituted to say mayors need to travel to far flung parts of Lincolnshire or other counties, as Councillor Selby proved when he was an Independent mayor; he stayed local and had a fulfilling year.

Councillor Ray Wootten

Charter Trustee