Budgetary issues

SIR – Regarding the article by Mary Brosnan (Village tax rebate bid, in Herts Advertiser, February 25) it seems that there is some confusion about what is a budget and what are accounts. A budget shows the proposed income and expenditure for a year and th

SIR - Regarding the article by Mary Brosnan (Village tax rebate bid, in Herts Advertiser, February 25) it seems that there is some confusion about what is a budget and what are accounts.

A budget shows the proposed income and expenditure for a year and the accounts show the council's financial position. The budget papers circulated to London Colney councillors and to the public at the February meeting clearly contain all details of the proposed 2010-2011 income/expenditure and the council's financial position.

The �56,000 referred to in the article is clearly declared in the council reserves. Councils are recommended to hold a reserve (not only money earmarked for specific projects but also in a general reserve) of between three and 12 months of their annual gross expenditure.

This is clearly stated in paragraph 2.26 of the Governance and Accountability for Local Councils Part 2 published by the Standards Board of England.


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The �56,000 is at the lower end of the range of a recommended reserve and represents less than three months of council gross expenditure. The suggestion that only �20,000 is required in the general reserve (representing less than one month's gross expenditure) would place the council in a dangerous financial position in my view.

I take exception to the suggestion of financial incompetence levelled at the council as I believe that it has acted responsibly to preserve services and to continue to support local people.

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The council's financial accounts are audited by two independent companies. All of the above was made clear to your reporter and she was provided with copies of the relevant financial documents.

Finally the councillors working on the budget were conscious of the difficult financial situation at present and have tried to ensure that the best possible service is provided to the community at no increase in cost compared with last year.

KG Bowes

Vice Chair London Colney Parish Council

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