Admin costs under the spotlight in Seaton

PUBLISHED: 11:13 26 March 2010 | UPDATED: 01:05 16 June 2010

SEATON Town Council has been criticised for spending nearly half the precept on administration costs.

SEATON Town Council has been criticised for spending nearly half the precept on administration costs.

The council's portion of the council tax is £190,000 - but £84,000 is used to cover administration costs.

Chamber of Commerce chairman Marcus Hartnell urged the council to reduce the costs and use local services more.

Speaking during the monthly council meeting, he said: "My point is that Seaton Town Council should be reducing its administration costs, not withdrawing support for businesses and the economy of Seaton.

"They have already prematurely closed the Tourist Information Centre, to the detriment of businesses. This is yet another blow for the businesses of Seaton - we have had enough."

Seaton's precept is £26.76 per head, compared to £21.67 in Sidmouth, and £11.21 in Exmouth.

He called on the town clerk, David Mears, to support the town by using local businesses and services.

He cited examples of when the council had bought from big stores, rather than local shops.

Mayor Sandra Semple said Seaton did not have property and investments like Exmouth and Sidmouth.

The council budget shows salaries have almost tripled since last year, from £19,213 to 57,529.

Other costs include over £3,000 for consultancy fees; £2,500 for training; £2,200 for insurance; £2,400 for photocopy lease; and £1,200 for telephone, fax and internet.

Mr Mears said: "The Town Council is always looking at ways in which it can reduce costs and make savings.

"Budget costs can always differ from council to council business, it really depends on how expenditure is allocated.

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