Shrewsbury Town Council is comprised of 17 councillors representing 17 wards (for details of your local councillors click here). Town Councillors are elected every 4 years with the next elections due in May 2013. The Town Council is served by a Town Clerk, the senior officer of the Town Council, and approximately 60 other full and part time staff, the majority of whom work to maintain the outdoor spaces and play areas for which the Town Council is responsible.
The Town Council is chaired by the Town Mayor (currently Councillor Keith Roberts) who, together with a Deputy Mayor, (currently Councillor Jon Tandy) is elected each year at the Annual Town Council meeting (held April/May). Both the Mayor and Deputy Mayor have busy diaries visiting local community groups and organisations and representing Shrewsbury at events elsewhere within the County.
At the Annual Town Council meeting councillors are voted in to serve on a number of committees which consider planning, recreation and leisure, finance and personnel issues. Councillors are also appointed to many different local organisations and charities to represent local interest.
The Town Council has the opportunity to comment on all Planning applications within the Shrewsbury Town area, prior to them being considered by the Shropshire Council Planning Committee where the final decisions on permissions are made. The Committee also comments on future development plans for Shrewsbury and on all major new development throughout the town.
Recreation and Leisure issues are regularly considered by the Town Council and may include, for example, the provision of new play areas, changes to allotment provision, improvements to parks and entertainment within the Quarry. The Town Council may also be consulted on proposals regarding environmental improvements in the local area and other matters of interest to the people of Shrewsbury Town. The Recreation and Leisure Committee is also responsible for overseeing the Town Council's works programme. Due to the nature of its primary responsibilities, grounds maintenance issues are of vital importance to the Town Council and the management of its parks, open spaces, recreation grounds and play areas, as well as estabishing future work plans for play area renewal and refurbishment, are vital committee responsibilities.
The Finance and General Purposes Committee is primarily responsible for agreeing and monitoring the Town Council's budget and advising on issues of financial management.
A further committee also meets to discuss Personnel issues on an ad-hoc basis to consider human resources issues, to appoint senior staff and appraise the Town Clerk.
The Planning Committee meets every 3 weeks throughout the year and other major committees meet every 6-8 weeks. All Town Councillors meet at Full Council (held every 6 weeks throughout the year) to ratify the decisions made by the Town Council's delegated committees. Members of the public are welcome to attend all Town Council meetings. A schedule and relevant agenda and/or minute papers can be found here.
Day-to-day management of the services delivered by the Town Council is the responsibility of the Town Clerk who works closely with Town Councillors to deliver the decisions made at the various committees. The work of the Town Council is funded through a precept on Council Tax payers within the Shrewsbury Town area and from income raised through letting out the Town Council's sports pitches, markets and properties, as well as work it carries out for Shropshire Council.
A budget for the forthcoming financial year (starting in April) is set in January when projects are identified for the coming year. These projects are likely to include refurbishment and replacement of play equipment, improvements to Town Council facilities and possible development of new initiatives for the benefit of local people. The Town Council's budget for 2012/13 is circa £3.4m.
The Town Council works closely with Shropshire Council, and its various partners, to ensure as seamless a service as possible for Shrewsbury residents; however, this is sometimes difficult given the complexity of the land holding and environmental responsibilities of the individual organisations. Regrettably, on rare occasions, some people may feel they are passed backwards and forwards between these local organisations while area responsibility is identified. Wait times may be minimised if callers can be as specific as possible about their queries, and the geographical area they concern. Many of our Town Councillors are also Shropshire Councillors and may be able to help direct your call to the relevant person or department.