We’re skint!

Councillor Bob Spink
Councillor Bob Spink

A change in the way the Common Good fund is managed means there is no money to finance projects such as the town’s annual festive lights.

On Tuesday at a meeting of Angus Council’s infrastructure services committee, members were told unless cash was made available from outside sources, lights around the West Port and Millgate may not appear this Christmas.

The report also stated that due to the situation with Arbroath Common Good funding, the request for further support for the festive display could not be supported during the budget process for 2013/14.

Two years ago around £50,000 of Common Good cash was used to upgrade the town’s Christmas lights after local councillors, 
including Bob Spink, worked to give the town centre a better display.

But now Councillor Spink explained that due to a change in the accountancy process of the town’s Common Good fund recommended by external auditors to the council, he believes it could be four to five years before money is available to use on local projects.

He said: “It comes down to a change in the common good accounts, which had funded the lights and it is a complex situation.

“Buildings in the Common Good such as the Webster [Memorial] Theatre and to a lesser extent the library have high amounts of depreciation payments, now being paid by the revenue account, which at the end of the day means there is no money in the kitty.

“This is reflected in things like Christmas lights and other things the Common Good is involved with.

“I have been talking with the director of finance about this to see if it can be changed back so that all the 
burghs can get value for money. For me it is entirely unsatisfactory.”

In recent years Common Good cash has been used to fund work at Keptie Pond as well as help towards the cost of a new car park at Arbroath Infirmary.

In the report on Christmas lights at the meeting on Tuesday, it said that unless community 
funding was found, displays would have to be curtailed with £125,000 available to share across the 
Angus towns.