COLUMNIST: Dozy’s Rambles on council tax and raw sewage

Houseboats in Shoreham
Houseboats in Shoreham

LIKE everyone living in our district, I received my council tax bill for 2015/2016.

I was very pleased to see West Sussex County Council had set a zero increase. Adur District Council in fact had a decrease of 0.1 per cent, which was far better than expected. I haven’t quite worked out what is meant by ‘Shoreham Special Expenses’, which increased by 1.5 per cent.

What has shocked me is the increase in the police precept of two per cent. This is not just for Adur but for the whole of both East and West Sussex, which amounts to approximately £84million.

This is the second year in succession we have had an increase from the police. In anyone’s books, £84million paid by residents has to be a lot of money.

Last year, Sussex Police received £289million. This money came from Government, council tax, grants and ‘other income’ (one assumes spot fines, etc.).

So, I need to ask why has it been announced that 1,000 jobs are to go in the police force? What are we paying for? Are we getting value for money from our police? Should we be paying a lot more in order to halt the proposed cuts to police services? Should this be a Government responsibility and payment?

I for one am sick of hearing Governments saying ‘we will be tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime’. Really, how, by reducing the numbers of police officers and not giving them the facilities they require?

They will close more and more police stations, and to add to that, those that are open will be open for only restricted hours.

Sewer Gate – I am sure I have mentioned this before over the past couple of years but every now and then it needs to be brought up again, as action never seems to be taken to repair the unsanitary situation.

I am talking about the raw sewerage that is pumped into the River Adur by houseboats moored in Shoreham.

Don’t get me wrong, I have always been a great fan of these historic vessels that have been brought back to life by people wishing to live on them.

Some responsible owners have fitted a mincing-type machine that mashes the human waste before it is dumped into the river, but this really is just not good enough in this modern day and age.

After years and years of discussion and inaction, it appears it all down to costs. The water board is prepared to fit the necessary sanitation, but not for free. The suggested cost to boat owners is totally out of the question for most of them.

Surely it is time the local authority forced the decision on the water board to provide this essential service? How many of us have walked along the towpath by the houseboats in the summer and inhaled that awful smell? It’s about time some action was taken!