I was pleased to see your article on Town Hall costs in last week's paper, which followed on from my letter the previous week. However the quoted figures are misleading.
It is strange to say that the £588,368 cost is “exclusive of professional fees” as if the professional fees for this project do not form part of the total bill. These fees are £56,907 for the project so far. The Town Clerk's stated refurbishment cost also excludes £72,151 spent on the boiler and flue system, and £31,291 - so far - on scaffolding. The internal work is yet to come. It should not be for an officer of the council to have to present the figures in this way. With regards my point that costs are already out of hand at £750,000 - readers will see that just the above totals £748,717.
The main point of my letter however was the 19% tax rise. The R4U party claim that every feasible option for funding was reviewed, but I sat in the council meeting where the option of re-applying for lottery funding was dismissed by their group. Not only did the R4U party then impose a 19% Council Tax increase in that financial year, but have followed it by taking out a £200,000 loan on top. Rather than reverse the 19% tax hike when the project is finished, R4U have already raised the Town Council tax again this year and have confirmed their plans for further rises every year until the next election.
Saffron Walden Town Councillor