First two months back on the council

It’s been a busy two months since the elections – with plenty done and a *lot* that I need to get done.

There are some teething problems with just getting information. I’ve opted to get council papers via email rather than the weekly small tree’s worth of paper being delivered each week. I’m not 100% certain yet if I’m actually getting everything. Still, it’ll all work out.

Noel and I have had meetings with local police and with the New Way tenants and residents committee. Also there was a special full council meeting about housing funding changes, which I couldn’t attend because of our previously arranged trip to Glastonbury. However, it’s time that we got out with our street surgeries and getting our first newsletter out. We’ll get these out in the next couple of weeks.

First impressions after being away from the Council for a couple of years:

* The “Chairman” of the council has now morphed into “His most worshipful Mayor” – this is weird and rather pointless.

* There are a *lot* of new faces, both in the Labour group and the Conservative group. It’ll take the best part of a year to get used to all the names again.

* Cash and the (non) availability of funding has the potential of overwhelming each and every decision being made by the council. There was very little spare cash three years ago. Now the scale of the cuts that have to be implemented have the potential to grind the workings of local services to a halt. This, and the role of the local council, are likely to be the themes for the next few years.

Most often the things that need changing require some element of cash. Speed enforcement signs, street cleaning or playground maintenance, even having sufficient planning officers to properly deal with and enforce applications. All this requires money – even if only a smidge to grease the wheels, but with a wave of the LibDem/Tory budget, that has all disappeared.

The council is a very different place and has very different challenges from when I stepped down two years ago.