Mayor insists money in the bank is a good idea

THE mayor of Belper has insisted he will make “no apology” for the town council having £264,000 in its financial reserves.

Cllr Alan Cox told a meeting of Belper Town Council that it was better to have money in the bank, than to have none at all.

He also promised that he would haul before the Standards Committee the person who had revealed the figure to The Belper News.

The News ran a story last month revealing how much the council had in the bank.

Cllr Cox’s comments came after Cllr Martin Tomlinson asked how the figure appeared in The News before he, as a member of the council, got to know about it.

The subject of the reserves was a controversial topic at the meeting, which was held at St John’s Chapel.

The News learned last month that the money had been saved up since 2004 in case the council needed to buy a new base to meet.

But Cllr Peter Shepherd said: “I think the reserves are far too high.”

He advocated getting a mortgage on any future property, saying it would be fairer on ratepayers in general over the next 20 years.

Cllr Alan Broughton added: “We should be investing in Belper, not sitting on this cash.

“With a mortgage we can provide services and get a new building.”

Cllr Tomlinson hit back and said: “It is a ludicrous suggestion that we should saddle the people of Belper with a mortgage.”

The meeting then heard from Cllr Cox, who pointed out various things the council has spent money on recently.

He said: “Christmas lights, hanging baskets, flowerbeds, free parking on Derwent Street, Coppice improvements, a newsletter for residents, litter bins in the town centre, annual food fair, Christmas trees on shops, and St George flags on shops.”

Cllr Cox added: “I make no apology for having reserves. It is better to have money in the bank, rather than not have any.”

l The meeting also heard there would be no increase in Belper’s town council’s portion of council tax bill for this year.