‘Creative accouting’ accusation in relocation budget

11:00 21 January 2014

The EDDC offices at Knowle in Sidmouth as it is today. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 7705-15-12SH To order your copy of this photograph visit www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on myphotos24

The EDDC offices at Knowle in Sidmouth as it is today. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 7705-15-12SH To order your copy of this photograph visit www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on myphotos24

Archant

District council budget bosses have been accused of ‘creative accounting’ and being unable to justify setting aside £400,000 of taxpayers’ cash for the authority’s relocation from Knowle.

The amount, split over the next two financial years, has been earmarked as a ‘marker’ to show there will be an expense to the mooted move.

But it is unclear exactly how the money will be spent – or what the final figure will be.

Some members said they would not accept such budgeting in their own businesses, but others described it as ‘perfectly sensible’ at a meeting on Wednesday.

A ‘disappointed’ Councillor Roger Giles told colleagues on the overview and scrutiny committee: “It is such a substantial sum of money – what is it going to be used for? What is it going to be spent on?”

Councillor Peter Halse added: “We have already spent a small fortune [on the relocation] and now we are talking about even more money.

“If we approve this it gives us permission to print money we didn’t know we had.

“We have created £400,000 – I don’t like that way of accounting.”

He said that he was not opposed to the relocation if the right offer was made, but said that ‘creative accounting’ is not necessary.

Justifying the move, head of finance Simon Davey said the allocation will not affect the budget’s bottom line.

Committee chairman Tim Wood added that it seems ‘safer’ to flag up the expense before the money is needed than revealing it at a later date and dubbed the move ‘eminently professional’.

Chief executive Mark Williams said there was ‘nothing sinister’ about budgeting for the relocation in this way, and the authority will be seeking advice from experts on how to proceed.

A council spokesman explained that the amount is an ‘educated guess’, included to cover the costs of the initial project, should a site be approved.

He added: “Once members have made a decision on office relocation and have agreed the associated costs and receipts then these more exact costings will be included in the capital programme to replace the estimates previously put in as a marker.”

The authority has pledged to keep the move cost-neutral to taxpayers and is considering taking out a loan of up to £4million to fund it.

0 comments

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 12:32
Josh Gutierrez will soon be heading off to Cambodia where he will take part in a VSO project. Ref shs 7653-34-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

A university graduate has quit his job to go and help families in a struggling third world country.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:04
A vintage teddy donated to Jeannie and John's appeal

A couple’s appeal to raffle off teddy bears to thank a prostate cancer charity has captured the imagination of the town – and revealed the impact of the little-discussed illness.

Read more
Fri, 16:24

Sid Valley residents are being warned to be on their guard against fraudsters claiming to offer a discount or rebate on council tax.

Read more
Fri, 14:42
The Red Arrows at Sidmouth. Ref shs 5777-35-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

Pictues:

Read more
Fri, 12:36

Police are appealing for information after a ‘suspicious man’ approached a young woman waiting for a bus by the mini-roundabout in Newton Poppleford to ask for directions.

Read more
Fri, 11:04
Ian Hartnell of the P4 Drivers Guild Devon hands over a cheque to John Fowler and Phil Shepperd of the Sidmouth lifeboat. Ref shs 2544-34-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

A show of classic British cars netted £1,000 for Sidmouth Lifeboat - and the petrolheads were eager to learn about its new tractor.

Read more
Fri, 07:34
Straightgate Farm, Ottery St Mary. Ref sho 7761-07-14AW. Picture: Alex Walton

The public will have chance to express their views on sites earmarked for extraction of minerals across Devon as part of a 12-week consultation.

Read more
Thu, 15:34
County Hall in Exeter.

District leaders could form part of a ‘unified front’ alongside other South West authorities in a move that would see the region gain more independence from Westminster.

Read more
Thu, 11:58

Doctors in East Devon are urging people to put a few extra things on their shopping lists ahead of the weekend.

Read more
Thu, 10:07
Sidmouth Fire Station in Woolbrook Road

The fire service is issuing urgent advice to boat owners along the Jurassic Coast about the proper disposal of out-of-date flares.

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 19°C

min temp: 15°C

Most Read News

Great British Life


Great British Life

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Competitions
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Sidmouth Herald e-edition today E-edition


Devon's trusted business finder