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Squeeze still on Alderney revenue budget

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PRESSURES on Alderney’s revenue budget continue to be the island’s biggest challenge, the chairman of the Policy and Finance Committee has said.

(Picture by Peter Frankland, 22676796)

Writing in the island’s 2019 Budget report, James Dent said that, like last year, ‘there remains little flexibility for any extraordinary expenditure’.

‘The States of Alderney must therefore continue to look closer and harder at opportunities to create direct home grown revenue streams together with creating efficiencies wherever possible.’

As for capital spending, he said challenges remain the capacity, resources and capability to deliver what is budgeted.

‘Greater focus has to be placed not so much on the cost, but on the benefits that can be derived from the capital projects,’ he wrote.

He concluded the report by referring to the forthcoming review of the 1948 Agreement with Guernsey and said that the island was pressing for a ‘holistic approach and independent chairmanship’.

‘Defending our corner will be key to our future prosperity and we must not shirk from that responsibility.’

The island receives a revenue cash allocation from Guernsey, which for 2019 will be £1,895,000, an increase of almost £4,000 over last year which takes into account pay awards and which will be adjusted once those awards are known.

The island’s capital programme is mainly funded by surpluses from the Alderney Gambling Control Commission and the one for 2019 is expected to be about £2m.

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Another £700,000 is expected to be raised from the Water Board revenue account, while its capital programme is expected to receive a grant of £775,000 from the States during the next year.

A 5% increase in water rates is being proposed for 2019 in order to cover the utility’s operating costs for the year and to help build a reserve of at least one year’s operating costs.

This will see the minimum charge rise from £67 to £70 per quarter and produce a surplus for the year of £25,000.

The research and development of projects to help improve Alderney’s economy is funded by the Economic Development Reserve Fund and this continues to receive funds from AGCC reserves of £300,000 a year.

Alderney expects to spend £5.4m on capital projects next year, and among those listed in the report are coastal defences, an extension to the Connaught Care Home, various recreational projects as well as road and pavement improvements and projects involving sewerage, recycling and waste.

Policy and Finance is expecting to spend £195,000 on projects including IT upgrades, data protection security and updating the land registry.

Mark Ogier

By Mark Ogier
News reporter

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