Hertfordshire County Council Liberal democrats are staggered at the massive security bills they have uncovered at County Hall.
In the period since 1st April 2010 HCC has run up a staggering £1.5 million bill to secure vacant property sites, including those awaiting demolition and sale. Council Tax payers have footed the huge bill while HCC has spent years deciding what to do with empty premises.
Over £280,000 has been spent securing the Bill Everitt Centre in Watford while it awaited demolition, and over in Hatfield £212,000 has been spent securing Sunny Bank School while it has been “prepped for disposal”.
In the figures the Lib Dems have demanded it has also come to light that the County Council has also spent nearly £36,000 on securing the controversial Hatfield Incinerator/Energy from waste site in Hatfield.
Leader of the Opposition on HCC and County Councillor for Watford Central and Oxhey, Stephen Giles-Medhurst commented, “The Conservatives at County Hall have clearly not had their eye on the ball on this. They have allowed security charges to rack up year on year while local Council Tax payers are footing the bill.
Street lights are going out, and vital services are at risk but they are spending millions on securing empty buildings they want to sell. It looks like they are fiddling as Rome burns.”
County Councillor Paul Zukowskyj, Hatfield South, who is the Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Resources, Corporate Issues and Localism added, ”
The Council will claim that they are waiting for the right time to dispose of properties, but some of these have been sitting vacant for 4 or 5 years while we pay to secure them. This is not acceptable when services to local people are being cut. It is also the final insult to residents in my Division that a further £36,000 has been spent on the Incinerator that they do not want.”