April is a quieter month at the council. Following the budget process, and with the Easter break that follows on from that, there is time to draw breath, try to reset oneself and draw up a plan of action for the coming months.
The Alliance administration has been in office for nearly a year now. Much of this time has been spent getting to grips with the budget and setting ourselves up for a refreshed approach to dealing with our finances. This will allow positive investment and development going forward, rather than allowing the process of managed decline to continue. However, during this process, we have made some important decisions, such as introducing our climate change strategy, moving to reverse the previous policy of ongoing cuts to council tax support, bringing forward the new Ryde Transport Interchange and commencing the long discussed process of mediation over the Floating Bridge, as well as building relationships with our town and parish councils and producing a new corporate plan with a new direction for the council.
In addition the budget process, allied to restructuring our financial operation, has been crucial to creating the foundations for the wider positive steps the administration now wishes to take forward in accordance with the new corporate plan.
As I have said a number of times over the last eleven months, we needed to get ourselves in the right position to bring about positive change. We still have distractions, when certain elements in the council still wish to take up time with petty political arguments and constant reminders we are a minority administration, reliant on the support of unaligned councillors in the chamber; however overall we are now in a good position to take forward our positive plans for the Island.
In the coming months this will include looking positively at the future of our smaller rural schools, creating affordable housing for Islanders, advancing the new Island Plan and looking to develop a clear strategy for the generation and use of renewable energy on the Island.
Throughout the past months and (I hope) going forward, I am both proud and humbled by the public support that is out there for what we are trying to achieve. Thank you. The councillors who form the alliance were elected because people wanted change from what had gone before. I am committed to honouring that and working to achieve it over the coming years.
Next Cabinet Connection – May 6