'Brilliant' councillor vows to work smarter on potholes (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Head of highways expects significant improvement after new budget proposal
A self-proclaimed “brilliant” councillor has proposed to increase spending on roads but cut the budget for dealing with potholes.
A provisional Essex county Council budget includes a plan to increase spending on major resurfacing works from £83million to £91million in the coming financial year, financed by a 1.49 per cent increase in council tax.
But money earmarked for maintenance such as individual pothole repairs is to be cut by £2million to £90million.
Rodney Bass, the county council’s cabinet member for highways, said: “The budget will allow us to do more planned resurfacing work, but will still greatly restrict us in our reactive capabilities for potholes.
“The management of capital projects will be my top priority. If we are falling behind with certain planned works, it is important to redirect the funds so that we don’t lose them.
“The revenue funds are very restrictive so we need to be smarter about how we go about repairs.
“It’s not sensible to do a repair in Epping Forest and then on the other side of the county so we will plan to do a cluster of potholes in the same area.”
Cllr Bass said he didn’t expect a review of road conditions to show a significant improvement on last year.
He said: "I expect there to be significant improvement in the figures for 2014 to 2015 so hold judgement until September 2016."
“I’m a brilliant cabinet member but I’m not God. I can’t control the weather.
“Periods of extreme flooding are very bad for the roads, as is the extreme cold.”
The budget will be voted on at a full council meeting next month.
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