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News Archive > General > Mayor pledges to keep services for tax payers

Mayor pledges to keep services for tax payers

By Natasha Swift 17th May 2017

Mayor pledges to keep services for tax payers
NEW MAYOR: Graham Walker

CONTINUING to deliver a range of services for residents while not hitting tax payers’ pockets is the aim of St Austell’s ninth mayor who was elected on Monday night.

Councillor Graham Walker took on the post of mayor from councillor Jackie Bull following a vote at the annual meeting of the St Austell Town Council.

Mr Walker has been a member of the town council since its inception in 2009 and said he had seen significant changes during that time.

The country’s largest ever hand over of local authority services has seen St Austell Town Council take over toilets, parks and the library.

Cornwall Council is in the process of offloading a number of services to save cash after revealing it must slash it’s budget by £200m over the next four years.

The town council has adopted a range of services from the local authority in one of the largest devolution packages in England.

It is taking over the running of car parks in the town, parks and open spaces, allotments, public conveniences and libraries and the One Stop Shop advice service.  

The town council is part way through the ambitious transfer of services from Cornwall Council and is getting ready for the library transfer during the summer.

Mr Walker said his aim over the next year would be to improve the delivery of those services while ensuring the town council’s precept remained well below the Cornish average.

He told the Voice: “I am delighted and very honoured to be chosen as mayor of St Austell Town Council for the coming year.

“I have been a member of the council since its inception in 2009 and have seen significant change since that time.

“In the last two years the council has negotiated a range of services for devolution to the town council from Cornwall Council.

“This includes toilets, allotments, parks and open spaces, maintenance of highways grassed areas, car parks and soon the library.

“As a council we always believed that we could deliver those services and provide better value for money. It is early days but it appears that we are on track to do.

“Thanks to the efforts of our outstanding staff we are the first council in Cornwall to successfully take on those services and we have done so while keeping our precept well below the Cornish average.

“The challenge for the coming year will be to consolidate and improve the delivery of those services while continuing to find efficiencies.”

Town council clerk, David Pooley, praised Mr Walker’s knowledge and experience of local government and St Austell and thanked Mrs Bull for her work over the last year.

He said: “Councillor Walker has been with the town council since 2009 and has a superb knowledge of the local area and vast experience of local government. 

“I very much look forward to working with Graham over the coming year and would like to thank Councillor Bull for her sterling work during her term of office.”

Mr Walker moved to St Austell nearly fifteen years ago from South Lincolnshire when his wife Jennie, who is from the town, took a job in the area.

The dad-of-two explained: “We moved partly to help with Jennie’s parents and partly because we believed Cornwall was a better place to bring up our children. We were not mistaken.

“For most of my adult life I worked as a teacher and lecturer. I taught mostly IT in Further and then Higher Education. Until last year I was the chairman of a Cornish education trust.

“I have been a councillor for over fourteen years in total and have served on numerous committees including Planning, FGP, the St Austell Town Team and St Austell Business Improvement District.

“I am very proud to be have been both secretary and chairman of St Austell Rugby Club.

“I have been a school governor for eighteen years, serving terms at Penrice, Bishop Bronescombe and Charlestown.”

Councillor Gary King was elected deputy mayor.

By Natasha Swift 17th May 2017

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