With question marks over more funding, the need to find savings and unknown circumstances surrounding COVID, there are projects promised in the budget to improve the council’s position — either through buying new or improving old resources.
Here are 9 capital schemes proposed by the Conservative majority in its 2020/21 budget, which would cost council taxpayers a 4.99% increase:
- £30,000 for buoys in Sandown Bay
- £240,000 to roll out contactless payment devices for car parks
- £300,000 for 2 sets of average speed cameras
- £260,000 (£18,000 from ring fenced grants and contributions) for improvements such as seafront railings, car park boundaries, pathway resurfacing and tree replacements
- £300,000 for the rolling replacement of council vehicles and the move to electric vehicles
- £300,000 for the Network Integrity Report Safety and Community Schemes – 41 projects as requested by the public and town, parish and community councils, including improvements to the Whitehouse Road junction near Newport.
- £750,000 in funding Compulsory Purchase Orders — currently being used to purchase 2 derelict properties in Sandown.
- A total of £40,700,000 for coastal protection schemes. The Environment Agency is providing the bulk of the funding. The council’s corporate resources will fund £5,840,000 of the project, which will see improvements made to the Cowes and Gurnard seawall among other schemes. It is thought the projects will not start until 2023, but the council has said it is ‘prudent’ to set aside the match funding while they have the resources.
- £500,000 for highways improvements — bus stops and stands, disabled bays and footways, road signage, cycling improvement works and other works to land not included on the highways PFI.
Alternative budgets have been proposed by opposition parties which put forward the idea of withdrawing some of these schemes.
Councillor Geoff Brodie has asked for the coastal protection scheme at Cowes and Gurnard to be postponed, saving £1.8million.
The largest opposition group, the Island Independent Group would scrap the investment in average speed cameras and half the funding for vehicle replacement and the Liberal Democrats are also proposing to withdraw the investment in speed cameras.
In a full council meeting from 17:00 this evening, councillors will vote to approve the budget and either accept or reject the amendments proposed by the opposition.