The £50,000 cost of building a new website for Falmouth Town Council was called into question on Monday night.

At a meeting of the finance and general purposes committee on Monday night, some councillors expressed concern at the cost of setting up a council website, during a discussion of the council budget.

Finance officer Ruth Thomas told the council that there was £423,000 that she was proposing that the council added to the "earmarked reserves" budget and the rationale for each of those was in the notes.

Cllr Evans said that one particular item that had caught his eye in this was the cost of the website with £20,000 in reserves and putting in another £30,000 meaning it was costing £50,000 to develop the website. Mrs Thomas told Cllr Evans that the quotes were coming in at just under £50,000.

"It seems a lot of money," said Cllr Evans with Cllr Alan Jewell agreeing.

Falmouth Packet:

Falmouth mayor Steve Eva said the council needed a website fit for the 21st century


Town clerk Mark Williams said there was a budget for that and once it went for tender they realised that that budget was "woefully inadequate".

Mrs Thomas told councillors that the budget does include ongoing support and the technical set-up for the website.

Cllr Evans asked whether that would come back to to be scrutinised by any committee at any time once all the tenders were in.

"We've put that in the budget," he said. "Will there be any opportunity to say well 'Can we pay that?' at any time? £30,000 more is a lot of money. Who makes the decisions? Councillors are not involved in that decision making process."

He was told that if the council did that then they would have to retender because it would entail tendering criteria.

Committee chair Cllr Jude Robinson told Cllr Dean that it was a "difficult one" when they asked their officers to do something and then they "find it's impossible".


Soft launch of town council's new logo raises concerns among councillors

Mrs Thomas explained that the money that was within existing revenue budgets wasn't "new money".

"It is money that was in the existing revenue budgets that wasn't planned to be used for the purpose of procuring and we hadn't finished that process," she said. "I am recommending that unspent money within those revenue budgets is now put into earmarked reserves specifically for that purpose."

Falmouth mayor Steve Eva said "for years" the council had been trying to do the website "on the cheap" and it hadn't worked.

"We do a lot of good things on this council but one of the things we haven't done is have a good website," he said. "The council is so big now that we need a good website.

"One of the complaints I often get is that 'I wasn't aware of such and such' and we need to get a website that is fit for the 21st century. If that's what it costs, then that's what it costs. We have to deliver a website that's fit for purpose. We have had people say 'We can do that', but it's never worked."

Town Clerk Mark Williams told the Packet that the council was still evaluating tenders. "As I reported we have a budget and the tenders appear to be in line with that [cost]," he said.