Don't miss a story sign up to Sidmouth Herald's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

‘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

Hugo Swire stock picture

Hugo Swire commends Sid Valley Memory Cafe and Herald for £100,000 appeal

Read more
06:00
Email your letters to sidmouth.letters@archant.co.uk.

‘Nowadays, some governments believe that when bombing militants does not defeat them, the solution is to bomb them more and more heavily.’

Read more
Yesterday, 18:30
Pretty Muddy charity event.

East Devon women are being urged to get the new year off to a great start by signing up to Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life 2016.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:28
Recycling bins on Church Street this week. Ref shs 2844-04-16SH. Photo Simon Horn

Scheme could see cardboard collected from Sidmouth homes - but black wheelie bins emptied every three weeks

Read more
Yesterday, 16:20
A senior couple in love. Moinca Pearson wants to play Cupid and match over-60s in Sidmouth.

Bereaved Monica Pearson, of Sidmouth, whose only companion is her faithful golden retriever Megan, hopes to turn Cupid by matching other lonely over-60s.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:16
Oxfam manager Andrew Pinney

Changing shopping habits blamed for demise of town’s first charity shop

Read more
Yesterday, 15:42
Riverside players performance of Aladdin. Ref shs 06-16TI 0502. Picture: Terry Ife

Gallery: fun begins at village hall tonight

Read more
Yesterday, 15:20
Lynsey and Graham Pickwell with Hannah Twine present a cheque to Phil Day and his dog Noah for Dogs For Good. Ref shs 04-16TI 9817. Picture: Terry Ife

The owners of a Sidmouth shop are ‘absolutely over the moon’ after their 10th anniversary exhibition netted £3,060 for a worthy cause.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:26
Picture: Christine Dunnington Photography.

Christine’s fantastic photograph of man and horse on beach

Read more
Yesterday, 12:00

‘Some of us have never been able to afford one in Sidmouth’

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 6°C

min temp: 2°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

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

Read Online

Image
Read the Sidmouth Herald e-edition E-edition

Local business directory

Devon's trusted business finder

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists


Find planning applications