A key part of my election strategy in Montgomeryshire in the 'team' approach - working with the newly elected Conservative councillors on Powys County Council. This is a new experience for us, because we've never before had any Conservative councillors in Montgomeryshire - and now we have six. This is not intended to be a partisan post, but I do really have to point out that the Liberal Democrats have been reduced to a measly two. Our 'team' don't always agree on everything, but we listen and we reason and we accept the majority opinion. Reason I mention this is that we've got an important meeting on Monday. There are two issues on the agenda.
First up is next year's Council Tax. My opinion is clear enough. It should not increase by a penny more than 2% - frozen at what can reasonably be expected to be inflation through 2009/10. Not sure whether the majority will go with this. They are the ones who have to face down the Council officers, with all those desperately important reasons why it should be increased by more. "We're still lower than the average for Wales - Blahdy Blah." And I won't be free to tell you what we conclude.
The other issue is street lighting in Powys, an issue that has put the county on the map of Britain. Although I thought that Councillors misjudged this issue when they decided to turn 67% of the lights off (without local consultation), I did think they had a point. If they had turned 33% of the lights off, and had consulted Community Councils first, I would have supported them. Anyway, tomorrow morning I'm meeting John Brautigum from Llanfyllin to discuss ideas he has been promoting for a while about reducing running costs of street lighting by changing the type of light. Something to do with Light Emitting Diodes. I'm sure that's wrong. My councillor colleagues tell me that Council employees have been suggesting this (in vain) for ages, and John first wrote to me well before Christmas. The reason we need to discuss it at the same time as we discuss Council Tax is that there's an upfront cost to installing the new equipment. I reckon that this could become a UK issue, so I'll do blog updates, and welcome comments.