Public meeting to decide funding future for lights

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A PUBLIC meeting will be called later this month to discuss the future funding of the town’s Christmas lighting displays.

Montrose Community Council will arrange the meeting, although it will not have overall responsibility for any fundraising group formed as a result.

The move followed a meeting held last week between community councillors, council officers, Councillor Mark Salmond and former community council chairwoman Joan Stott.

Members heard that the bill for this year’s display and the balance outstanding from last year’s amounts to £9,928 and it was explained that three festoons and three lighting features erected in Murray Street will have to be replaced, as they are nearing the end of their lifespan, at a total cost of £6,900.

Money raised for the lights on an annual basis is match-funded with money from the town’s common good fund and, assuming local councillors agree to its use in future years, the cost every year from fundraising would be £3,587.50. If match funding is not agreed, fundraisers would have to raise the full £7,175 plus the replacement costs for the Murray Street features.

Member Tommy Stewart also told members that the “Montrose” feature attached to the south side of the Town House would also need replaced at a cost of around £3,000.

Chairman Peter Davies said that any group formed would have to be affiliated to Montrose Together as a long-term commitment had to fundraising had to be given and the community council could not be expected to do that due to possible changes in membership and chairmanship.

He was backed by Councillor David May who said applications to the common good fund had to be submitted by a constituted organisation.

Mr Stewart also said he doubted if any group could make such a commitment to raising that amount of money when match funding from the common good could also not be guaranteed.

Mr May said: “As soon as the group is established it will have to have a meeting to discuss what it will do for the next few years.”

Mr Davies said a date and time for the meeting will be confirmed in the near future.