Soap Box

Things are rather frantic at council HQ as the administration tweaks the budget for the coming financial year which will be very difficult – despite increased money from London, although severe cuts from Edinburgh.

The public will find it hard to equate how several front-line services will not be far away from being butchered while other grandiose projects are pushed through.

The feedback I get from my constituents covers issues like the state of the roads and potholes that are patched, and in no time patched again and again. Also, the general cleanliness of certain areas throughout the ward, including the three dog poo alleys, to the poor state of the former toilet block at Teviothead and many other areas where litter is discarded.

Education, the state of some of our school buildings, staffing levels. Social work, staffing shortages, people doubling up and the strain on those doing it.

Transport, from the poor state of our roads to the level of bus services. Economic growth, job opportunities, especially after recent events in the textiles industry – and the list of concern goes on and on.

As a member of the largest opposition group at council HQ, it is extremely frustrating to try and get behind some of the figures when information is being guarded by the powers-that-be.

This situation makes it very difficult to prepare an alternative budget – without all the relevant information, how can anyone make a solid proposal or recommendation?

No doubt when we go through the process and come up with valid alternative ideas, they will be shot down by members of the ruling rainbow administration, patting themselves on the back on how wonderful they are in producing a balanced budget.

Many years ago I went on a training course for newly-elected councillors. The main thing I remember was a senior local authority official explaining how councils operated and as far as councillors were concerned it was very easy – you treat them like mushrooms, keep them in the dark and feed them crap as and when.

Although this was said in humour, it has remained with me and possibly not too far away from reality.

Club Sport Roxburgh held it latest meeting on Monday and several individuals were successful with their grant applications, as well as a club gaining £4,000 towards a £30,000 project at its premises.

Can I encourage sporting individuals and clubs to renew their membership soon as we are approaching a new financial year – contact me on 01450 374234, 01896 661166 or 07880 138722.