Swimming in Boston going... swimmingly
Swimmers in Boston are bucking a reported national trend which indicates fewer people are visiting their local swimming pool.
In Boston attendances for swimming at the Geoff Moulder Leisure Complex continue to rise from 78,800 for the same quarter the previous year to 86,081 this quarter. The target had been 85,000. The total swim attendances for the whole of last year were 157,150. The target had been 150,000.
The council's Cabinet also heard that those taking part in council-organised healthy walking events exceeded its target of 4,500 for the quarter by achieving 4,968.
The council has pursued a number of green initiatives, such as solar energy generation and biomass boilers and reduced its carbon dioxide emissions by 26.4 per cent compared with 19.14 per cent for the same quarter last year.
A council project to ensure all businesses are paying the correct amount of business rates has seen yields increase by three per cent - the net amount for the latest quarter was up to £20,946,397 from £19,678,813 for the same quarter last year. Although the borough council has responsibility for collecting this, the majority goes to central Government, Lincolnshire County Council and Lincolnshire Police.
Time taken by council staff to process applicants' benefit claims all improved, beating both the previous quarter's figures and the targets set.
There were also gains in households living in temporary accommodation, improvements to housing standards and empty properties now lived in. The number of affordable homes provided beat the target set.
The council's switchboard operators have been quick on the draw - despite a nine per cent increase in callers - up from 27,629 to 30,041 - average waiting time for callers now stands at just 19.6 seconds, down from 24.5. Customers served on reception went up from 25,073 to 27,909 for the quarter, an 11 per cent increase.
The council's website - www.boston.gov.uk - is also proving more popular with a 16 per cent rise in unique views, up from 323,489 to 375,799.
More proactive activity by the council and its Flyswat team, and an increase in awareness and reporting, saw fly tipping increase by 49 per cent, up from 468 incidents to 695. Dumped household waste contributed the most. Cllr Michael Brookes, portfolio holder for waste services, was pleased to report that fly tipping of garden waste had reduced from 62 incidents in 2012/13 to 24, despite a charge introduced for collection and disposal by the council.
Council leader, Cllr Peter Bedford said it had been a reasonably successful year for the town and thanked everyone for all their hard work. He said new business and new housing development was taking place and the first section of the congestion-reducing distributor road was going in.