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Town Council warned of "significant areas of concern and risk.”

Created on 08/01/2020 @ 22:47
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Welshpool Town Council has been warned by its Interim Town Clerk that it faces “significant areas of concern and risk.”

Anne Wilson presented a financial report to last night’s full council meeting highlighting areas of concerns and questions that needed clarification before a budget could be set for 2020/2021.

And she also warned of serious concerns about the way funds from the Burgess Land Trust had been invested.

“The report is an initial look at your budget and whilst it may be lengthy it highlights some of the areas of concerns and the questions that may need clarification,” she said.

“There are gaps in this initial draft due to lack of available information. This budget will need to address significant areas of concern and risk to the council and I am aware that in the past members had not had full details of the situation in order for them to make a fully informed decision.”

Ms Wilson told the council that information about leases and contracts were not readily available and questioned whether rental agreements were realistic.

She said in some cases Burgess Land Trust money had been invested without the knowledge of the Trust with a company not necessarily meeting registered investment standards. There were doubts whether agreed dividends would actually be paid on some investments.

Ms Wilson said: “Lack of payment or reduced payments are going to have a significant impact on the cost of the Town Hall and Armoury. The funding received by Welshpool Town Council is for the upkeep and repair of buildings of significant interest to Welshpool.

“It is not clear who agreed amounts and approved the payments from the Burgess Land Trust and how such amounts appeared through the budget.

“In 2016 Counsel’s opinion stated that the Burgess Land Trust had to revisit the opportunity in 2019 as to whether the Burgess Land Trust funds could also be given towards the running of Triangle House (£20,000), Day Care Centre(£17,000) and Tourist Information Centre (£6,500). Although to the best of our knowledge this has never been revisited.

“There is a query as to why Burgess Land Trust funding is being used to prop up the Market (£5,000) and toilets (£2,000),” she added.

Ms Wilson also told councillors that without their knowledge national pay increases had not been given to every member of staff in April, 2019 and backdating would be necessary.

Others had been paid considerably above the national pay rise and this money could not be recovered.

The council decided to reinstate the suspended Finance Committee immediately to help scrutinise the accounts and to restore the full committee system during February.

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