WIGTOWN Area Committee will have a discretionary budget of £227,596 for the 2011/12 financial year. This is made up of a budget allowance of £84,085, a civic pride award of £140,700 and £2,811 brought forward from last year.
Councillors expressed a concern that the funds could run dry to quickly if all the money is distributed early in the financial year. This, they reasoned, could lead to a situation where a deserving cause comes to the council for support to find the cupboard bare.
Mid Galloway Councillor Graham Nicol suggested that only 75 per cent of the funds be allocated early on, but fellow Mid Galloway Councillor Alistair Geddes thought that the applicants in the area were “pretty savvy” and knew full well the dates when applications for funding were to be registered. Councillor Sandra McDowall added that holding back funding could also see the money perhaps going to applicants that were “not as strong as the first tranche”.
Wigtown West Councillor Robert Higgins also wanted money that could not be used “brought back into the pot” and given to another applicant who could.
The following amounts have been ring-fenced from the budget: £3,000 for the Christmas decorations in Stranraer town centre, £6,182 towards community Christmas decorations and infrastructure and £450 for Stranraer Remembrance Day/Princess Victoria Commemorations/Armed Forces Day.
COUNCIL plans to amalgamate three multi-agency groups in the Machars were met with strong opposition from the elected members who serve the area at last week’s Wigtown Area Committee meeting.
In a report to the councillors, council officer Wendy Jesson had recommended linking the multi-agency groups in Whithorn, Wigtown and Newton Stewart into one group.
As the groups tackle community issues that are specific to their own town Councillor McDowall thought that the amalgamation would not work as the people of Whithorn would not be keen to travel to Newton Stewart of Wigtown to discuss the problems particular to residents there. Councillor Geddes thought that it would also be courtesy to consult with each group to find out what they thought first.
All the councillors favoured keeping the groups independent but having a joint meeting for strategic issues.