14 February 2014

No votes for Cllrs Gordon, Rayner & Scannell

Mr Mustard has a busy diary. He already had an almost full week of social engagements for this week when the cash parking meter task and finish group tried to ruin it. He managed to fit in the Tuesday meeting when evidence was being collected from the public but couldn't do the Thursday "decision" meeting as he had a PATAS hearing at which he represented a local resident at 6pm and dinner with a friend in borough market at 7pm. (The resident was also there and did a grand job of putting his own case forward, the adjudicator was won over in 12 minutes and cancelled the PCN and afterwards made a remark about the usual Barnet Council presentation of evidence not being very good, NSL do it for them).

Luckily Dan of the Barnet Bugle was on hand to record the meeting for posterity and you can find the video here.

Mr Mustard is listening to the audio whilst writing this blog and he also had a slow motion version of the meeting when he surfaced at East Finchley and his tweets started to come through on his phone.

There was lots of talk about the known cost and where it would come from and about the difficulty in pinning down how much income and extra people it would bring in. They forget that the removal of meters caused the turnover of some traders to fall by 30% and so putting them back would reverse some of that effect.

Having looked at the costs, Paul Shea, the boss of Tally Ho Discount (a fine place to buy fruit and veg for much less than the supermarkets sell them for) thought they were overstated so, with a little help in presentation from Mr Mustard, he sent councillors a comparison of what he thought were more accurate costings and here they are:

Cash parking meters - break even estimate Per council figures
Per Finchley traders

Year 1 Year 2
Year 1 Year 2

50 of 50 of
50 of 50 of
Purchase cost debit/credit & cash machines 192,500 192,500
192,500 192,500

Spread cost over life time, say 4 years 48,125 48,125
48,125 48,125
Signs, maintenance & ticket rolls 125,000 35,000
16,500 0
Cash collection cost 195,000 195,000
100,000 100,000
Cost per year - total 368,125 278,125
164,625 148,125

Cost per machine 7,363 5,563
3,293 2,963
Maintenance cost 611 611
611 611
Total cost per machine per year 7,974 6,174
3,904 3,574
Operative 52 weeks and 6 days a week = 312 days, so daily cost 26 20
13 11

Anything above this figure per day is profit 26 20
13 11

Now one of the things that Cllr Gordon was worrying about was where the money would come from to fund the parking meters.

There are two ways of looking at this. The simple one is that parking meters are like fruit machines, people put money in and never see it again.

The second, more formal answer, is that the Special Parking Account makes an absolute packet as you will see from the figures to 31 March 2013.

Year ended 31 March 2013 £
Penalty Charge Notices – parking 5,003,385
Bus Lane PCN 831,492
Permits 3,073,836
Paid for parking 2,945,682
Total income 11,854,395
Costs 4,661,253
Surplus 7,193,142

It is clear that there is plenty of money with which to fund the purchase of more parking meters.

This easily answers the question of Cllr Gordon "How are we going to find the money?"

and "Where are the cuts going to be made"

There can't be cuts in other services unless the council are banking on the money from the Special Parking Account to fund other things, which they clearly are. This is utterly wrong.

The meeting concludes without a decision as to whether to put cash parking meters back or not which was the whole point of the task and finish group. There were various tinkering ideas put forward which were not within the remit of the T&FG - what a joke. Cllr Gordon didn't want to make a radical decision, instead he has presided over a ridiculous T&FG.

Now that we are talking of procrastination, Mr Mustard has some to suggest.

Don't bother voting for Cllr Gordon in May 14, leave your decision until August 14. He will be standing in Edgware ward.

Don't bother voting for Cllr Rayner either in May 14, leave your decision until August 14. He currently represents Hale ward.

Don't bother voting for Cllr Scannell in May 14, leave your decision until August 14. She currently represents Edgware ward.

Whilst you are in the full swing of doing nothing Dean Cohen certainly didn't say anything in favour of cash parking meters when he appeared on Tuesday so leave your vote for him, if he stands again in Golders Green ward in May 14, until August 14.

Public service? Barnet? forget it.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

If you think that the procrastinating councillors got it wrong, and you want to see cash parking meters in your High Street and car parks then do please email any of the 4 councillors above and tell them so. They are paid to listen to you.

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