Canterbury city councillors have formally set their budget for the next financial year on a night which saw some of the district’s key issues take centre stage.
As we know there’s nothing more important to many residents than an efficient bin collections and street cleaning.
With that the Conservative-dominated council has agreed to pump an extra £140,000 into the work of its private waste contractor Serco.
It was move sent up to the full council from the policy and resources committee earlier in month to “create service resilience and support Serco to deliver the service expected of them by the council and residents”.
But it was opposed by the Lib Dem and Labour opposition. Wincheap Lib Dem Nick Eden-Green accused the Conservative administration of “throwing good money after bad” who accused Serco of letting the district down.
Veteran Conservative and former Lord Mayor of Canterbury Jenny Samper countered that residents wanted a decent rubbish collection service – and are happy to pay extra for it.
Bottles – or plastic water bottles, to be precise – featured elsewhere on the agenda.
Barton Conservatives Steve Williams and Louise Jones-Roberts have been banging the drum for people to start refilling water bottles rather than binning them in the war on waste.
The Barton ward councillors’ motion was passed, but with amendments.
Canterbury’s overall budget, which covers its services and various and spending commitments, was also set – as was a 3% increase in council tax.
Councillors agreed to press ahead with a “feasibility study” to decide whether the authority should press ahead with a City of Culture bid for 2025.
The idea has sparked criticism in the past. Some are suggesting it would work best if Canterbury was included in a wider east Kent City of Culture bid.
Last night’s meeting started on a sad note with a minute’s silence for the passing of former Lady Mayoress Barbara Todd, who died in January. She was the wife of former Lord Mayor Cllr Todd, who currently serves as the council’s deputy leader.