Tuesday, June 16, 2009

St Helier Rates

From Maurice Le Cocq

The Constable of St Helier, Simon Crowcroft, has gone on record as saying that he would like to increase the rates for St Helier ratepayers to pay for more street cleaning.
In view of the current economic times, including frozen wages and huge increases in basic commodities like electricity, instead of increasing costs for cash-strapped ratepayers, surely he could be looking at other ways of getting the job done without increasing our rates.
We have an ever-growing number of people being sentenced to community service, so how about following other jurisdictions and getting these people to sweep the streets? If it’s good enough for Boy George to sweep the streets of New York, why can’t our own home-grown offenders sweep our streets?
(Before I get irate letters from the unions, they need to appreciate that if the money isn’t there to pay for extra staff, they aren’t going to be taken on anyway, so no one is losing out.)


Simon Crowcroft said...

Allegedly I have 'gone on record as saying that (I) would like to increase the rates...' I am pretty sure that there are few constables who would ever utter such a remark! It certainly doesn't square with my stated objective of bringing down St Helier rates. Moreover, I have frequently called for a contribution from general taxation towards the costs of running the island's main town, and am several years into a campaign to persuade the States to pay rates on their properties.

What I actually said last week in relation to the proposed rationalisation of street cleansing services in the Parish is that St Helier is proposing to spend more on street cleaning; I did not say that this would involve an increase in rates. As a St Helier ratepayer Mr Le Cocq will know that we are managing to increase front-line services - more street cleaning staff, Parish wardens, apprentices, etc. - because as an organisation we have slimmed down management and increased non-rates income.

Ratepayers also know that the amount of rates they pay is for them to decide at the annual rates assembly, which in the case of St Helier will be on 8th July this year. So if Mr Le Cocq objects to the fact that we are in the process of recruiting five more street cleaning staff to enable us to provide an afternoon and evening cleansing service, he ought to turn up on that evening to express his concerns.

The proposed changes to the way street cleansing is organised have been in the pipeline for several years and followed efforts by the former Chief Minister, Frank Walker, to get rid of the duplication between the Parish of St Helier and the States of Jersey. They will be considered at a Parish Assembly on Wednesday 24 June and, if approved, will be subject to a twelve-month trial, whereby Parish staff and vehicles will be deployed on the area within the Ring Road while the resources of Transport & Technical Services are deployed outside it.

As for the suggestion that we get 'offenders' to sweep the streets, this may work where a 'top up' service is required, but could not be relied upon to achieve a consistent high standard of cleanliness. I think the job of getting our streets clean requires personnel who are properly recruited, trained and remunerated for their work.

TonyTheProf said...

Another factor which could be considered is that if there is going to be extra street cleaning in the centre of St Helier by the Parish, that may well not involve double to time. I don't know how much time is lost through the current "stop / start" practice when coming across public rather than parish roads, but I would have thought it more efficient in terms of speed not to have to do that.

Anonymous said...

Constable Crowcroft

I think that apart from the cycle routes that go against the flow of traffic you have done and continue to do a marvellous job as Constable of St Helier. The town looks clean and tidy. You do not see cars parked on pavements as you do in St Saviour. Keep up the good work and thank you for your dedication. Peace to you and yours.

ps Top marks for the gardener at St Andrews park.

Anonymous said...

Msr Le Connetable

I hear that you voted in favour of keeping the silly regulation that Geoff and Shona fell foul of recently.

How can you justify this specific rule when there's nothing like it in the rest of the civilised world?

Simon Crowcroft said...

Re the previous posting, I didn't actually vote the way you said - I supported the rescindment of the article - I was persuaded to do so by the excellent speech of Deputy Andrew Green, as well as by Deputy Southern's (unusually) succinct summing up.