More than £21 million could be set aside for capital projects following concerns that Caerphilly County Borough Council’s reserves are “too high.”
The council’s policy and resources committee recommended to cabinet that £21.1 million of earmarked capital reserves should be moved across for capital projects.
The committee chair Cllr Jamie Pritchard said: “The scrutiny committee made their views known in previous meetings that reserves should be earmarked for key capital projects.
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“Members agreed (with two abstentions) for £21.1 million to be set aside for capital programmes, including new school buildings.
“A number of councillors on the committee spoke in support of investing in new and improved school buildings, which of course is absolutely critical when it comes to enhancing the educational opportunities for children all across the county borough.”
The committee had previously asked for reserves to be set aside for the 21st century school programme.
However, there were concerns that it wasn’t clear that this is what the funds were being earmarked for.
Leader of Caerphilly’s Plaid Cymru group, Cllr Colin Mann, said: “We hold twice as much reserves as Cardiff, I don’t know how we can justify that – it’s too high.
“I think the public would like to see something more substantive for this money. How can we guarantee what projects it’s going into?
Cllr Gary Johnston said: “We saw high levels of reserves in the summer and we asked for some to be released.
“They have done this; it’s the first step.”
The council currently has £119 million of useable reserves based on the current balance.
Approval from the committee means that cabinet will now consider the proposal to move earmarked capital reserves of £21.1 million for capital projects and £3.4 for the council tax reduction scheme.
Capital reserves are ring-fenced for the council’s capital programme. It is expected that by March there will be nearly £60 million of capital reserves.
The £21.1 million set aside would be used for one-off investments in new capital schemes.
The report will now be considered by the council’s cabinet.