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Formby Parish Council Precept

I understand that last night Sefton MBC agreed the budget for next year. It will mean an increase of '62p extra per week for the council’s services'. In the budget process every year the 10 Parish Councils in Sefton also raise money for their services by means of a 'Precept'. This is added to the Council Tax figure as set by Sefton. Other statutory bodies also raise a Precept, for example the Police and Fire Authorities.

I thought you might like to see all the Parish Council Precepts and the impact they have on your pocket. This chart use a Band 'D' property for illustrative purposes, some properties will pay less and some will pay more.

Precepts

There are several items that are worth a comment, firstly the Precept always reflects the size of the Parish Council, small Councils have small budgets but the precept pro rata tends to be more per household. Compare Little Altcar and Formby for instance. Secondly compare Formby and Maghull, most of us will be familiar with the Maghull Town Hall, but the Council manages a ranges of services locally that Formby does not, hence the size of the budget.

Interestingly an equivalent precept in Formby would cost much less per household and yet produce a figure that could provide the same level of services enjoyed in Maghull. Some critics complain that this leads to 'double taxation' ie. that you pay twice for the same service, in these circumstances the District Council is supposed to 'return the revenue'.

If I succeed and Formby Parish Council adopts a 'Participatory Budgeting' approach next year, we can examine all of the issues raised in this item.

Business Forum at Range High School

FormbyBusinessCards1  The meeting this morning  was very popular, I noted 24 participants. There were representatives from a range of businesses including advertising, management consultants, retailers of various kinds, financial services, business training, fitness training, counselling, the Post Office, the U3A, Health Service Providers and Leonard Cheshire Homes. The retailers included computing, book selling, cafes and designers. There were also some who are considering starting up a business, which was very heartening.

I hope this list does justice to all those who were there, we were also joined by staff and young people from Range High School, some of whom were there in addition to the participants. In the hour long meeting, everyone agreed on the importance of the local business sector and wholeheartedly agreed with the 'Shop Local Campaign' . Several people repeated, it was absolutely crucial that local residents spent and exchanged their money in local shops. Members also discussed the importance of increasing footfall and how Marketing and developing a Formby Brand was of paramount importance.

Members also talked about developing networks between traders and increasing the visibility of local traders in the local area. Traditional print based and IT based means will receive consideration in future meetings. I have undertaken to illustrate the techniques that underpin this blog, with a view to encouraging local traders to try the technology for themselves.

Some participants circulated their business cards and I've added them on the right, click on the image to see them in detail.


Breakfast meeting at Range High School

RangeHighLogo Tomorrow morning I am attending an early morning meeting at Range High School starting at 7.30am. Other people attending will include representatives of local shops and businesses in Formby as we continue to discuss the threats and opportunities before them at this time.

FormbyPoolTrustLogo Later I will be in the swimming Pool Cafe, holding my usual surgery from 10.30am, ready to meet and talk to local residents about the issues that pre-occupy them at this time. I will be joined by the Chair and Vice Chair of the Council to complete the arrangements for the next newsletter.


Fire service to rescue

My thanks are due to Formby Fire service who came to my aid on Saturday afternoon. I was on one of my usual cycle rides around Formby and I had taken a coffee break in the village. When I came to unlock my bike, the combination lock failed and my bike was fixed firmly to the cycle rack. Cue many embarrassing minutes trying by all means to open the lock and yet trying to avoid looking as if I was someone who had forgotten the code - I promise you I had'nt.
Anyway to cut a long story short, with half my bike in the back of the car and enroute to the cycle shop to seek advice I came across the fire crew conducting a routine visit.
The firefighters were true to their word and half an hour later cut my remaining front wheel free. I have  now reconstructed my bike, but as I prepare to leave the house my wife has just said, 'I not sure I can let you out on your own again, without me!', to make matters worse she also proved right with her advice that I should have asked at Formby Hardware Stores in the village, they do have a large bolt-cutter which would have done the job as well. Ah well, you live and you learn.


What's Local?

Just before I retired, over 6 years ago, I realised as I was driving to work across the Moss to Liverpool that I knew nothing about the landscape and the local agriculture, the crops were a mystery, but I gradually detected a pattern in the planting and the time of the year when livestock was moved into the fields. That started me thinking about 'local', after all I had being driving to work from Formby for 35 years+. Eventually I became a Parish Councillor as a result. That interest in localism is becoming much more widespread and discussed by others. For instance. Dave Press writing by invitation on Paul Evan's blog writes:

One of the problems is one of definition: just what does ‘local’ mean - and if it turns out that its meaning is different to different people, does that matter?

I live in a house on a street, in a village, within a parish, that is in a district, a parliamentary constituency and a county too. I’m also close to a city which I visit, sometimes attend meetings......

And the article goes on to suggest that we need to understand peoples notions of 'local' and 'neighbourhood'. I have been arguing for some time that Sefton is not one place but a series of places and as Sefton starts to move towards 'Neighbourhood Management' understanding what being local in Formby means, becomes even more significant.

I believe that 'participatory budgeting', see my last post, would help us understand our local town better. What do you think, are you prepared to help?