WITH some costs still to come in, the East Riding of Yorkshire Council has released the first information about how much the Boundary Referendum that took place in September 2014 actually cost.
To date £ Inlogov – questions 1,217 Printing 15,529 Royal Mail 16,935 Sundry 2,511 Total 36,192
The following items still have to come in; the rest of the charges from Royal Mail to cover the return of ballot forms – based on a 75% turnout and assuming that the majority returned by post (in actual fact some hand-delivered their ballots to customer service centres and other ballot boxes) then we can estimate a figure of around £12,700.
The council itself estimates a figure of £8,000 for the costs of the erection of signs on council buildings and at other places.
So we can probably safely say that the actual costs of the Boundary Referendum were less than £56,800.
A full record of the number of Council staff who worked on the Boundary Referendum is not held by the council as a number of officers carried out work as part of their normal duties. A record however was kept of the number of staff involved in the opening of postal votes and those appointed as counters.
Postal Vote opening – 80 staff
Counters – 54 staff.
No reports have been produced by the East Riding Council to date highlighting the success or otherwise of the Boundary Referendum exercise. However, *‘Hands Off!’ campaign chairman, and East Riding Councillor John Dennis seconded the motion at a full council meeting on October 9th 2014 acknowledging and thanking residents in the 12 affected areas for taking part:
“Not only did we attract a massive 96% ‘No-No’ Vote, but to me, an even more impressive 75% turnout of registered electors. That was an unprecedented response, way beyond even my expectations… Over 50,000 East Riding people can’t all be wrong!”
So with the costs of the costs of the Boundary Referendum from public funds becoming known – we ask the question: Is the price of democracy worth it in this matter?
* Note: The “Hands Off!” campaign funds were raised by the campaigners themselves, although some parish councils did contribute funds. We hope that the campaign will publish its own fundraising accounts too as part of this ‘price of democracy’ investigation.
The Hedon Blog will also seek to discover the costs of Hull City Council’s Commission of Inquiry into Hull’s future development and its boundary deliberations.