IN MY column last month I wrote about the forthcoming county council budget.

One proposal the Lib Dem Group made, when preparing our alternative budget, was to borrow some £10m to invest in road repairs, mostly filling potholes.

The Conservative group, backed by the independent councillors that support their administration, rejected the Lib Dem idea and instead passed a budget granting each county councillor access to £15,000 to spend on local projects.

So, if you want a pothole fixed, start emailing your county councillor now.

If you don’t know who they are see

I think the money for road maintenance would have been better spent borrowing a capital sum from reserves rather than inspiring a race for who can lobby hardest.

Of course, your councillor could decide not to spend the local money on roads, but on any other project that is permissible under the county’s budget rules.

Realistically, had local government funding not been badly affected by government cuts during the past decade, our roads would undoubtedly be in a better shape.

Although the Government at Westminster has allocated an extra £1m for road repairs in Oxfordshire this year, such a sum won’t even deal with the consequences of what has been a cold and wet winter.

The Lib Dems have argued that a single tier authority for Oxfordshire, underpinned by active town and parish councils, would also have saved money, possibly some £20m a year across Oxfordshire.

As it is, the lack of funding or local government has meant the abolition of all bus subsidies, increasing the isolation of many; the withdrawal of the mobile library service; closure of many children’s centres and day centres and a host of other, largely unseen, cuts that affect only those who used the service concerned.

We cannot afford a gold-plated three tier system of local government anymore.

There has been no dissent that removing a tier of local government would release funds that could be used to protect services.

Sadly, as I write this column, despite the minister agreeing to a change for Dorset, the situation in Oxfordshire remains unresolved and costs you hard earned cash that could be used to protect or enhance services.

As a result, the county share of the council tax will increase by 5.99 per cent in April.

Happily, Oxfordshire is not yet in the parlous state Northamptonshire has found itself in.

Whether or not combining Cherwell and a council in Northamptonshire would be good for Bicester residents must be a matter for debate.

I see the sense for Banbury, less so for Bicester.

Fortunately school funding now comes direct from government and councillors have little say in how it’s distributed between schools.

Oxfordshire schools still remain less well funded than others, pupils with special needs in Oxfordshire are especially hard hit in terms of their funding.

Unlike the potholes, this is an issue where councillors can campaign, but no longer have any direct say in the outcome.