A response to a public petition criticising the plan to earmark £3million to either upgrade Thanet council’s Margate offices or to relocate will be discussed by Cabinet members o Thursday (July 25).
The petition states the £3million spend is not “appropriate” and adds: “This money could be better spent.”
The same petition questions the selling off of council assets suggesting more are handed over to the community.
The report to councillors recommends: “The concerns are noted however the provisions in the budget report remain valid.”
The report also reveals the office spend will come out of cash from the past sale of council land and properties.
The report says: “A £3m provision was included in the 2019/20 capital programme to ensure the council’s office accommodation remains suitable for use and as cost effective as possible.
“The capital expenditure covers the acquisition or enhancement of the council’s assets, as opposed to revenue expenditure which relates to day-to-day service expenditure, for example officer salaries or repairs and maintenance.
“There are a number of restrictions in the way in which both the revenue and capital budgets can be and are financed. Fundamentally, the council is not allowed to use borrowing or the proceeds from asset sales (capital receipts) to fund its on-going revenue budgets. As such these sources of income are only available to fund the capital programme.
“The 2019/20 capital programme approved by Council in February 2019, determined that any investment in the council’s office accommodation would be funded from the proceeds from past asset sales.”
The report says the ‘provisional sum’ of £3 million is to address some of the problems with the Margate office including the Council Chamber and the Gateway, due to issues with the original roof, heating and wiring systems and lifts.
There could also be the purchase of a new site – possibly at the former Christ Church University campus in Broadstairs. TDC would look to sell the Cecil Square building to recoup funds.
Cllr Bayford previously said if the option to refurbish went ahead the council would not retain the whole building as it was “too big.”
The report adds that in terms of assets, many have been transferred for community use. Council-owned assets are currently estimated to be worth some £244 million.