Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The First Cycle

The first cycle of meetings for 2008 is as follows (remember the acronyms are explained here):

SSH - Tue 22nd Jan
EPPS - Wed 23rd Jan
Development - Thu 24th Jan
T&I - Tue 29th Jan
ERCS - Wed 30th Jan
Land and Property sub-committee - Thu 31st Jan
Information Services sub-committee - Thu 31st Jan at 2.15pm
P&R - Tuesday 12th Feb
Full Council - 26th Feb

All these meetings are open to the public, and take place in the Council Chamber at 10.30 am unless otherwise stated.

ERCS on the 30th will include recommendations for the siting of KGS, and the first public debate and vote, which I am sure will be interesting. Whatever results from this will go to P&R on 12th Feb and whatever comes from that will go to Full Council on the 26th for ratification or otherwise.

Happy New Year

First let me wish all readers a Happy New Year. If you send me an email with your address I'll come round with my bottle if you want!

I shouldn't make too many drink related promises, as anyone reading on from the last posting would think I must have been in a home-brew-related stupor for the last six weeks. This was not the case, but hey, there's always next year.

There's really been no time for high jinks, as December saw business continue with meetings up till the 19th, and the topics being addressed in this include budget setting in light of the Council's priorities and the settlement from the Scottish Government. The latter is not as Orkney would have liked as the disappearance of the budgeted-for million pounds for the ferries means that our relative position to the Western Isles is getting worse, and pressure on the various Reserve Funds increases. Not good, as the money going into these funds has effectively stopped, and the Harbours operation has been losing money now for a number of years, which I had been unaware of, and this has been brought to a head by the loss of the Foinhaven contract. Even with the proposed slimming down of the Harbours operation the year on year deficit is increasing, so revisiting charging and attracting new business must take place.

More people are contacting me about ward issues, which is good in so far as the contact mechanism is working, but bad in so far as there are issues. Examples include the proposed changes to the junction of Weyland Terrace and East Road, which has moved more than 50 residents to petition the Council to reconsider, the poor results for KGS in December's league tables, what measures are being taken to control speeding in the town, and the poor efficiency and high cost of heating in the Lynn Crescent houses. All serious issues, and ones which are being followed up. Hopefully good news will follow in a future post. If any of these issues affect you, please get in touch, as any further information is helpful to me.

The Council business is in full swing now for 2008, with the first cycle of committee meetings starting next week. I'll list them in the next post.