Penarth’s Labour-controlled Town Council has exceeded its annual budget for administration and now incurs an annual staff salary bill of well over half a million pounds a year .
The council was budgeted to spend £367,178 on what it calls “Office Administration” in the last financial year 2017/18 – but has actually ended up spending £371,314 – an overspend of £3,659 .
On another budget heading, entitled “General Administration”, the council ended up overspending by £3,334 during the last financial year.
The council auditor states that its staff costs for the 2017/18 year including salaries, wages, PAYE, pension contributions and National Insurance – including “termination costs” amounted to £561.935. The actual number of staff employed is not stated – but is understood to be in excess of 20 .
In April this year Penarth Town Council increased the “Penarth Precept” – the extra tax it imposes on every council-tax payer in the town – by 7% , a figure which is way above the rate of inflation.
The council states that “ Because of the growing size of council’s financial affairs” the external auditor has asked for additional information before he can complete the audit of the council’s 2018-18 accounts .
Penarth Town Council is also preparing to borrow money and get into debt. It is to apply to the Public Works Loan Board for a loan – the amount of which has yet to be disclosed but which is forecast to cost the council £9,000 every quarter in repayments .
The loan is to fund the council’s projects outlined in the council’s so-called “Vision for Penarth” document . [See https://tinyurl.com/y7e6htph ]
The council’s secret Strategic Review Group [ a committee which is not open to the press or public and which does not publish any minutes] – is reported to hold a budget of £16,586. Of this cash, which is derived from local residents who pay the “Penarth Precept” , £9.000 is to be used for the first quarterly repayment of Penarth Town Council’s Public Works Board loan. The rest of the £16,586 is to go towards “feasibility works” to develop a “business plan” for the council’s “Vision” policies.
A total of £54,000 has been set aside for the development of the council’s “Vision of Penarth”