Monday, 28 October 2013
Following my ward surgeries this afternoon at the West Park and Mitchell Street Centres, I took part in tonight's City Council meetings at which:
* At Environment Committee, I asked questions about the issuing of fixed penalty notices for littering and asked about the success in getting a proper outcome when these are reported to the Procurator Fiscal due to non-payment (around 50% of the 300-400 fixed penalties for littering in Dundee each year end up being reported to the PF).
* At Housing Committee, I welcomed the more reasonable rent increase proposals to be consulted upon this year - in my view, the SNP has had unreasonably high rent increases in the past few years - but I questioned a change in procedure which effectively means that tenants can only chose between 3 options for increase proposed by the council with no opportunity to say that all are not acceptable and suggest an alternative to them.
* At City Development Committee, I moved deferral of a £735 000 tender to relocate part of the Environment Department to City Square. The SNP administration is all over the place on this matter, previously suggesting that millions be unnecessarily spent on a new HQ for that department at Marchbanks. Had they listened to me at the last budget, that project would have been abandoned then and we would have seen an extra £1.15 million available for schools refurbishment this year, as I proposed.
A deferral would have allowed for the department to properly brief councillors on its strategy before another £735 000 is spent, but the SNP majority on the council voted for full steam ahead without this. It is not so much a case of a policy intention being badly communicated, more about it not being communicated at all - and not a way to manage public funds.