Council Business

What do we do?

Ever wondered what your council does for you? In April each year we publish our annual report, which lets you know what we’ve been up to and what your council tax has been spent on. Read on to find out more. And before you ask, between 11 councillors, we spent £500 on expenses and allowances in 2008/09. This includes things like travel to training sessions and photocopying but definitely no duck houses.

How much do we have to spend?

Last year (2008/09) the council had £53,000 to spend, that’s £53 from every Band D property (next year this is going down by about 9 per cent: so you’ll be paying £50 and the council will get £49,000 to spend).

The council had £28,000 in reserve. £6,400 of this is ring fenced for the village hall and £4,700 for the clerk’s pension.
Total income for the year, including money left over from previous years, was £115,000. We spent £89,000 of this.

Where did the money go?

Police Community Support Officers
Mistley, along with Manningtree and Lawford councils, pay half the costs of the two local PCSOs. This year they cost us in total £27,500. Manningtree and Lawford have already paid £13,400 of their share, and have yet to pay us the remaining £4,500.

Street lighting
The council owns and maintains 108 street lights (a new one was added at a particuarly dark and dangerous corner of School Lane).
It cost £3,400 to run these, and £3,900 to maintain them.
We are trying to get two new lights installed in Clacton Road to light the footpath to Acorn Village, but we are having problems letting EDF to connect the power supply.

Recreation and open spaces
The council owns Furze Hill Recreation Ground (50 acres in all, including the village hall, car park, playground, three sports pitches and a large ancient wood). This cost £3,200 to maintain this year, £2,800 or which went on resurfacing the access road and £2,000 on grass cutting.
We also own areas of open common land, including Mistley Green, and cut the grass on these on behalf of the county council. This cost £2,800 this year (which includes the cost of cutting the grass on The Walls, which is common land with no known owner).

The clerk
The clerk was paid £9,600 this year in salary and expenses.

Administration
This includes things like insurance, stationery, photo-copying, training, hire of premises etc, and came to £6,500 this year.

Expenses
Mistley councillors claimed a total of £500 in allowances and expenses.

Grants and subscriptions
We grant small amounts of money to various local bodies, everything from the Manningtree Festival to First aid Responders. For full details of these see the Annual Report.

Action
Planning We assess all local planning applications for their impact on the local environment and tell Tendring what we think.
Cemetery We own the cemetery by St Mary’s Church in New Road jointly with Manningtree Town Council. We got £3,500 in fees, and paid out £880 in expenses. The remainder is going into a reserve to fund a future extension.
Road and footpaths We have pressed for various extensions to no waiting orders and most of these have been put in place by the County Council. We are still pushing for action on the inadequate footpath between the Church Hall and the Church in New Road.
Restricted access signs have been put up at Shrublands Road and Green Lane, which are un-made up roads for residents’ use only, to stop people using them as a cut through.
We report any defect or repair needed in local roads to the County Council.
Village Hall Last year £6.500 was granted to the hall, and £9,900 of works were carried out, partly funded by grants obtained by the Kids Club.
Trees we own many trees, particularly at Furze Hill. Maintenance of these cost £1,000 last year.
Swans and geese: we value the presence of the swans on The Walls as part of our heritage. But, along with English Nature and the RSPB, we continue to urge local group Swan Watch to stop over feeding them as this is encouraging rats and a permanent colony of Canada Geese. Their presence is destroying the greensward, which we have to maintain, and causing a lot of smell and mess which locals and visitors find offensive.
Affordable housing After a survey carried out with English Rural Housing Association and the Rural Community Council of Essex, we find there is a need for 15 afforable housing units. We are now working with Tendring District Council’s Housing and Planning Departments to find a suitable site on the edge of the parish and a public consultation meeting is being arranged, probably in July.
Health and Safety We commissioned a policy this year and are sticking to it.