Author Topic: Residents' parking permits set to rise  (Read 37534 times)

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Offline DaveWood

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Re: Residents' parking permits set to rise
« Reply #80 on: April 23, 2009, 05:35:08 PM »
Edit: Ah, you did have it.  Good.

If anyone wants the 08/09 on top of that just let me know.

Offline kecl

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Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Residents' parking permits set to rise
« Reply #82 on: April 23, 2009, 06:13:59 PM »

Not forgetting, if you're interested in SBC's Black Ops unit - 'Off Street Operations'  :)

Offline Mart

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Re: Residents' parking permits set to rise
« Reply #83 on: April 26, 2009, 07:29:30 PM »
Remember this? No, neither did I. I was trawling though my 'no limit' e-mail in box because it now has a limit, and it's gone up. (No the sodding price has gone up, the account didn't have a limit, oh never mind) Thanks Mr Branson

Thank you for your Email of 23 February 2009 regarding Residents Parking
Charges
.
 
I understand that you also submitted an Email to our Customer Service team on 9
February 2009 concerning the same issues. I am sorry for the delay in replying
to your initial Email but I understand that Mr Ceri Stephens will be responding
to you within the next few days which I think addresses the issues you have
raised in this and you original Email..
 
 
 
Jack Mather
Parking Representations Officer


I have heard from neither from Lt. Mather or Major Matthews, I expect my concept of a few days is as at odds with them as my view of what consitutes a minor increase.

So I've tried again.

Hello!
 
Wakey wakey!
 
Is anybody there, Mr Ceri Matthews has had quite long enough I feel.
 
Can someone please get their finger out or I'll get all cranky and explore
avenues.
 
Regards



Exciting innit.

I miss Antiques Roadshow.
Sometimes I think you have to march right in and demand your rights, even if you don’t know what your rights are, or who the person is you’re talking to. Then, on the way out, slam the door.

Offline Chav

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Re: Residents' parking permits set to rise
« Reply #84 on: April 26, 2009, 08:12:07 PM »
Quote
Exciting innit.

INNIT !  :popcorn:
"Politics is the skilled use of blunt objects." -- Lester B. Pearson.

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Residents' parking permits set to rise
« Reply #85 on: April 27, 2009, 05:30:26 PM »
Hahahaha...excellent!

Not wanting to be left out of the fun I'm Hoping to be able to something interesting soon.

Possibly the smoking gun....

Offline James

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Re: Residents' parking permits set to rise
« Reply #86 on: April 27, 2009, 05:51:23 PM »
Gosh that's clear then.
Seems to me there is a reasonable degree of potential disagreement here...

Does anyone know what the codes ACTUALLY refer to?
What on earth is N5802?
Has desk space been allocated to each PA, etc, etc?

And why does fine income seem to go the opposite way to PA cost - employ more and earn less?
Have the items been reasonably allocated - what methodology was used, and is it sensible

Clear as mud for now.


James

Offline Mart

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Re: Residents' parking permits set to rise
« Reply #87 on: April 27, 2009, 09:23:34 PM »
Yup, forgot to mention that.

I'm not an accountant (In case anyone was wondering) neither am I bleedin thicky (don't come from Billericay either).

I've had to lash things like this together for modules on a qualification thingumajig I did and I have to say it appears to me it's one of those documents made complicated to appear clever, (mine was the polar opposite) and therefore creditable, as per me tagline.

There are some big lumpy figures in there, wage bill's a monster, would you employ a gazillion poundsworth of people without doing a bit of a cashflow analysis wossname? Mind you, look at who we're dealing with and the example of Big Government they seem determined to ape.

I am pretty much convinced it's a budgetary version of the pea and shell trick, not clever enough meself to prove it though.

I shall continue with my thudding and clumsy approach, and I will want answers in a format I understand. I was taught if you don't understand the answer ask the question again.

Hoping for an acknowledgement any month now.
Sometimes I think you have to march right in and demand your rights, even if you don’t know what your rights are, or who the person is you’re talking to. Then, on the way out, slam the door.

Offline DaveWood

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Re: Residents' parking permits set to rise
« Reply #88 on: April 27, 2009, 11:13:50 PM »
Gosh that's clear then.
Seems to me there is a reasonable degree of potential disagreement here...

Does anyone know what the codes ACTUALLY refer to?
What on earth is N5802?
Has desk space been allocated to each PA, etc, etc?

And why does fine income seem to go the opposite way to PA cost - employ more and earn less?
Have the items been reasonably allocated - what methodology was used, and is it sensible

Clear as mud for now.


James


These figures have been applied retrospectively.  This shows 2005/6 in massive deficit, but the figures at the time showed a surplus.

You are right to question the methodology.  I was once led to believe that the a time and motion study was carried out - but that the data was lost and the officer left - but now I understand there was just a bit of a chat that resulted in changing the allocations to turn a surplus service into a money losing service.

Mind you if the Council accepts the alternative plan put forward by the 6 Eastcott and Central folks these figures will cease to matter. 

Offline James

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Re: Residents' parking permits set to rise
« Reply #89 on: April 28, 2009, 12:36:35 AM »
Quote
You are right to question the methodology.
Anyone know what the methodology is/was?

Doesn't seem to be obvious in the data.
(Though I admit to not being an accountant, so my views are obviously suspect)
Maybe I have just missed something.

I reiterate, if you had to push cost somewhere...

Where is the PG on this one.
Surely he must know what's going on, and how it has gone on.


James

Offline DaveWood

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Re: Residents' parking permits set to rise
« Reply #90 on: April 28, 2009, 08:06:36 AM »
Quote
You are right to question the methodology.
Anyone know what the methodology is/was?

It literally seemed to be 'gather together in a room and come to some consensus about how much time is spent on stuff'.  Nothing objective or evidence-based, it would seem.

Where is the PG on this one.
Surely he must know what's going on, and how it has gone on.

I understand that the line of the administration is 'trust the officers, they know what they're doing'.

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Residents' parking permits set to rise
« Reply #91 on: April 28, 2009, 08:44:18 AM »
Anyone know what the methodology is/was?

Doesn't seem to be obvious in the data.


Several people are nibbling away at this very point right now. SBC seem remarkably keen not to discuss or share it out although I did recently get an apparently frank, but not entirely convincing, explanation of it from a cabinet member.

I won't explain the strategy/methodology being employed to retrieve the information and data because elements within SBC and the civic offices think they are playing chess, which is just silly. It's battleships with onion flavoured armour.

SBC may have all the ships, but the community has all the guns and unlimited ammunition......and another layer of the onion is stripped away with every successful shot.

It's taking a while though.

Offline kecl

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Re: Residents' parking permits set to rise
« Reply #92 on: April 28, 2009, 10:56:02 AM »
Back in March, Councillor Edwards visited the Broad Street Area Community Council to explain all about the increases.

With regards to the questionable original figures for 2005/6 as mentioned by Mr Woods, it would seem that he didn't actually know how the figures were derived but did know that the current figures were correct, Iwonder if it has been discovered yet how those original figures were derived???


Anyway, here are his answers from the minutes:


GUEST SPEAKER - Councillor Mark Edwards – Cabinet Member for Resources: Thanked the BSACC for the invite to talk about the proposed residents parking permit increases, and gave apologies for Councillor Peter Greenhalgh who he had hoped would also have been able to attend the meeting.
Legally the Council are obliged to balance their books and although he understood the financial situation at the moment, the council cannot take out huge loans. Every year there has to be a budget and every year expenses increase while income does not, and although £8m savings had been found and they were coming close to delivering a balanced budget, unfortunately since the credit crunch at the end of last year, there had been a huge income loss to the council from things like planning applications and recycling. To balance the books they had to go back and look again at all the savings that could be made, and one thing that was put forward as a proposal for change was the residents parking. Looking at the current cost and income, the books don’t balance and the scheme is running at a net loss and is being subsidised. The proposal is to put the cost of permits up by the amount suggested and that will go some way to cover the gap between what it costs to run and what income is generated.

There then followed a question and answer session.
Q: Are fines included?
A: Yes, it’s all part of the income.
Q: Is this not simply a stealth tax, put up the cost of residents parking permits and keep council tax lower for everyone else?
A: Not at all, we want to be very honest and open about it, but this is a service that is costing money and a way has to be found to make it more efficient. There is to be a consultation process on it but has no the details as to how it’s going to run yet. One option that has been floated before, which makes it cost effective, is if there were no residents’ parking in place it would be cost neutral. Every time this has been proposed the answer has been residents want to keep the scheme.
Q: If as you say the increases are to balance the books, people are going to expect to see more for their money, i.e. more people managing the scheme because there’s already problems with inconsiderate parking and illegal parking in the residents parking bays. More patrols etc will Increase the cost of running the scheme and not generate more income. If it is not managed properly there will be lots of complaints.
A: Enforcement has been looked at and savings made by making it run as efficiently as possible. The Council need to know from residents where the inefficiencies are in enforcement. They are down to 31 officers from 38 but the scheme was running reasonably well with 31 officers, so that number is being maintained.
Q: If you want to make savings, don’t use so many vans. How many do the parking department use?
A: Not know.
Q: Could residents parking not operate on a Sunday? Surely the fines would generate more income?
A: It was looked at, but is not cost effective to operate the scheme on a Sunday; the most cost effective solution is to put the cost of permits up.
Q: It would be helpful to get a figure on the shortfall of costs for the scheme, but never the less, how much are you expecting to generate from the price increase?
A: £152,000
Q: One thing that defeats that figure, is the increase in Councillors Allowances which is understood to be costing an additional £370,000 but if only half of that was given back by Councillors there would be no need to increase the residents parking charges at all, would there?
A: This is a very sensitive subject and will no doubt be debated at many future council meetings. There are lots of ways you could work things out, but to be on call 365 days of the year to 8,000 residents, it works out to be 50p to £1.00 per hour. From a personal point of view, looking at the amount of work and hours Councillors put in, in terms of evenings and weekends etc, the reward does not necessarily balance up with those amounts of hours.  For example today – up at 6am, at this meeting now and have to go to another meeting after, this is a typical day in amongst the day job. These commitments are relatively tough, where everybody is working very very hard here. Weekends and evenings - you never know how late. The only reason that some of the people actually do the job as a councillor is because they can balance their work/job life, which means you may not be able to get a job that pays sufficiently to have a life or that allows you to do both, you have to balance both against the cost. Considering the amount of work that has to be put in to these roles, it’s a fair balance.
Q: With regards to the allowances, many people do voluntary work and carry on with their jobs as well, and they don’t expect to get paid.
A: As Chair of School Governors, I probably give 20 to 30 hours a week so we all do the voluntary stuff as well.
Q: Do you consider parking increases of between 60% and 200% reasonable and can residents in the present climate of recession absorb this? Why were the charges not phased in, if there’s never been a situation of having to balance the budget for the scheme?
A: Taken onboard that it is a big increase all in one go, the only counter argument to that is that maybe it should have been done last year, the year before that and the year before that. To put it up to the full cost all in one go was considered to be far too much and these increases were considered to be a reasonable compromise.
Q: There is also another option, where there has been a windfall of income coming into the council coffers of approximately £429,000, which could have been used to accommodate the shortfalls and cuts.
A: Completely understand the point that has been raised about this money from the Government but it’s one off funding, while it is very welcome, if it’s used for the Park and Ride for example, we will be sitting here in a years time having exactly the same discussion. Using one of funding to try and sustain something for the long term is not practical and not going to work, all it is doing is delaying the problem.
Q: Why are more permits issued than actual parking spaces?
A: It is known that this is an issue, there are discussions on the number of parking spaces and believe there is some capital funding which will potentially be available this year to look at the number of parking spaces and see if the number can be increased.
Q: Houses in Multiple Occupancy – why, when one person in one flat pays the cost of a first permit, should a totally unrelated person living in a separate flat within the same building have to pay the cost of a second permit as if it was a second car in the same household?
A: It should be on a per household basis, will take it back.
Q: You said the current option of increases was the most cost effective, what are the other options because it would be useful if they could be shared with residents? And with regards to the consultation process, will residents be consulted or will it just be councillors? 
A: Will make sure the BSACC has full details on the consultation process and on the other options. The cheapest option is to scrap the scheme but residents want it.
Q: It was said that these increases will still not cover the cost of the scheme, does this mean that in the next couple of budgets the charges are going to increase again and again?
A: Here’s your answer, let me give you a clue -  ‘The proposed price increases in permits are expected to realise an additional value of £152,000. In order to recover the full cost of the service leaving visitors, second and third permits unchanged, the cost of a 6 month first permit needs to rise to £30 and a 12 month permit to £55 compared with a £25 to £40 proposed’ so in order to make the whole thing cost neutral, it would take that level of increase.
Q: Part of people’s aggravation about this is that it is such a huge increase coming in, seemingly through the back door via a section in the budget – ‘Amendments and Omissions from December Report’ Would it not be better to set out the future rises over the next few years, now?
A: My job is to balance the books and I have only been in this role for 2 months, if we were to put out the fees for the next 3 years it sets them in stone, when through other savings they may not need to be increased. If we do find a way to make this service run efficiently, at a far less cost and it works for residents, I would be the first one to say we are going to cut the residents car parking fees.
Q: As there are no local council elections this year, could this be the reason that the charges are being put up by so much?
A: If we wanted to run a political budget next year, by keeping the council tax to 3.5% now we are creating a huge issue for ourselves next year. The political gain would be a 4.9% budget this year, because people would have forgotten about it next year. A 3.5% budget this year was one of the most difficult things this council has had to do in terms of balancing the books, you can be rest assured this was not political and I am up for re-election next year so the job is going to be even harder.
Q: Going through the paperwork to the residents parking review in 2007, it states that in 2005/06 there was an operating surplus of some £6300 and this was based on the old charges of £12 per permit, so how in the last couple of years has the cost of running the scheme suddenly gone up so much?
A: That is one of the questions we are trying to find the answer to, exactly where the 05/06 numbers were derived from. They don’t actually make sense, we are trying to find out what costs were not put in, because the current fees and numbers are correct.
Q: Basically up until December time, when the economic problems hit, you were not really bothered that the scheme was costing extra money; in fact you didn’t even know did you? (A: No, absolutely.) and suddenly it’s allegedly going to cost lots more money to run this so therefore you are going to be ‘taxing’ everybody extra (A: Absolutely not) you weren’t looking at this before, a budget was put to cabinet in December and it wasn’t included.
A: We didn’t get to the budget in December and decide to punish the residents parking, there were a whole raft of things that happened in December and January. It was always on the list, but we don’t want to touch things we don’t have to, I want to make these things cost neutral, it would be very easy to say we’ve got plenty of money in the bank but we will punish you for that as well. We have to make a balance and that is, when times are economically tough you have to look at absolutely everything. This should have been looked at 3 years ago with far more scrutiny. As the budgets become tighter, everything has to be scrutinised and you have to square every asset you have got in order to balance the books. So yes, the prices should have gone up 3 years ago.
Q: It was suggested by the Lib. Dems. at the full Council meeting, that quite a lot of the increase is due to added administration charges that have not been included before, is this correct?
A: That is what I am trying to work out. I am assured by our Finance Director that we are apportioning costs appropriately for residents parking in the 2008/2009 budget that has just gone through.
Q: Have you compared the cost of residents parking in Swindon, with other towns?
A: I can get you the figures, but I can assure you if you look at res. parking in equivalent Unitaries, this is incredibly cheap. I will get some numbers and get some balance and make it transparent - this is what it costs and in an equivalent Unitary this is what they pay, so you can get a benchmark.
I will come back with all of the responses to tonight and if there are any gaps let me know, and Peter Greenhalgh will come back with a response to the letter sent to him from the BSACC.
Everything that has been said will be taken back and will make sure there is a full feed back on this discussion and full feedback on how the consultation is going to take place, the BSACC will be kept fully informed.
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Offline Mart

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Re: Residents' parking permits set to rise
« Reply #93 on: April 28, 2009, 12:50:05 PM »
I concur.

This particular chimp was wheeled out with the back page of a report and no knowledge of the pages that preceded, the processes followed, the measures taken. He merely had the conclusions he attempted to present.

My clumsy questions are quite pertinent then.

It ran efficiently, it is only in sbc's twisted liitle world of dishonourable and non accountable expedience it has ceased to do so.

Getting grumpy.
Sometimes I think you have to march right in and demand your rights, even if you don’t know what your rights are, or who the person is you’re talking to. Then, on the way out, slam the door.

Offline James

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Re: Residents' parking permits set to rise
« Reply #94 on: April 28, 2009, 01:46:51 PM »
Quote
Q: Going through the paperwork to the residents parking review in 2007, it states that in 2005/06 there was an operating surplus of some £6300 and this was based on the old charges of £12 per permit, so how in the last couple of years has the cost of running the scheme suddenly gone up so much?
A: That is one of the questions we are trying to find the answer to, exactly where the 05/06 numbers were derived from. They don’t actually make sense, we are trying to find out what costs were not put in, because the current fees and numbers are correct.

I hope they are correct...

To understand the cost for the Residents bit, lets have a look back a little further in the mists of time...
When did the council take over from the police on parking issues? And how many parking attendants did they have before that to run the Residents zones?
I'll bet it was a lot less than 31.


James

Offline Mart

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Re: Residents' parking permits set to rise
« Reply #95 on: April 28, 2009, 08:16:28 PM »
More on my perversely enjoyable yet strangely one sided correspondence with sbc.

I said:

Hello, please show signs of life, I am becoming concerned at the lengthy silence
and am being compelled to identify the avenues I may yet have to explore. Which
is making me irritable


They said

I can only apologise yet again for delay in responding to your Emails and have
been advised that Tracy Baker will be writing to you direct within the next day
regarding your concerns


Looking forward to it, I'm expecting wishy washy generalities that leave me but momentarily satisfied. I may ask the meaning of N5802, sure to be popular, quick jog through Councillor Edwards' utterances, particularly keen on getting to the bottom of

That is one of the questions we are trying to find the answer to, exactly where the 05/06 numbers were derived from. They don’t actually make sense, we are trying to find out what costs were not put in, because the current fees and numbers are correct.

I will share with you the road to enlightenment.
Sometimes I think you have to march right in and demand your rights, even if you don’t know what your rights are, or who the person is you’re talking to. Then, on the way out, slam the door.

Offline James

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Re: Residents' parking permits set to rise
« Reply #96 on: April 29, 2009, 09:26:27 AM »
Got a ticket yesterday.

Parked on yellow lines - most of car in bay, back wheels only just on yellow (as I have done on occasion for months), and I think they patrol at about 7am every day here.

Seems they are being a bit stricter now than they have been.
I wonder if they've been told to get tough?


James

Offline Mart

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Re: Residents' parking permits set to rise
« Reply #97 on: April 29, 2009, 01:36:43 PM »
Options?

a. You were either causing a serious road hazard

or

b. The balance sheet says you were newly defined as causing serious a hazard because sbc is going to bring us better services by treating us like sh!t and taking us for every friggin penny in every friggin way they can think of because their view is that you do not improve services by improving efficiency, no, you do it by increasing the budget. Just like gordnon.

Here's another thought, proportionally, is the number of parking fines awarded to council officers and councillors higher than that awarded to the general populace?

Course we haven't got free weekend parking down the council offices....
Sometimes I think you have to march right in and demand your rights, even if you don’t know what your rights are, or who the person is you’re talking to. Then, on the way out, slam the door.

Offline DaveWood

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Re: Residents' parking permits set to rise
« Reply #98 on: April 29, 2009, 07:21:41 PM »
I hope they are correct...

To understand the cost for the Residents bit, lets have a look back a little further in the mists of time...
When did the council take over from the police on parking issues? And how many parking attendants did they have before that to run the Residents zones?
I'll bet it was a lot less than 31.

James

Decriminalisation, as they called it, took place in 2003.  Prior to that most parking offenses were enforced by Police traffic wardens.  However, for some period of time before decrim SBC employed traffic wardens specifically to enforce RP.

And yes, in both cases it was less than the 30% of 36 wardens that apparently walk RP streets today.

Offline DaveWood

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Re: Residents' parking permits set to rise
« Reply #99 on: April 29, 2009, 07:33:17 PM »
That is one of the questions we are trying to find the answer to, exactly where the 05/06 numbers were derived from. They don’t actually make sense, we are trying to find out what costs were not put in, because the current fees and numbers are correct.

I will share with you the road to enlightenment.

The figures used to be based on a proportional apportionment: the amount of warden time 'charged' to RP was an exact proportion of the PCNs issued on RP offenses.  This varied between about 11-14% of warden time, around £130k.

In late 2009 some managers got together and decided that 30% of warden time seemed more realistic, so it jumped to £300k warden costs.  Combine this with the additional costs of the 30% apportionment (e.g. uniforms, control room time) and you have a) the new increases b) the deficit left after the current increases and c) the additional money raised the last time permit costs were doubled.