Residents get say on setting council budget

WHITBY and district’s residents have been asked for their views on how the council proposes to save £2 million during the next financial year.

Scarborough Council’s annual consultation on detailed budget proposals follows a reduction in Government grant funding which forced the authority to look at making cuts. The proposals, which will be approved by full council next month, will see front line services protected and popular measures – which were suggested by residents in the Local Area Budget Survey last year – adopted by the council.

Almost 1,500 responses to the survey were received by the council and council officials are determined to show the link between what people asked for and the final proposals put forward this week.

Strategic Director Hilary Jones said: “Cuts in government funding have meant that this year has been exceptionally tough for all councils across the country and we are no exception.

“Difficult decisions are needed to bridge the gap between the level of government grants, the increases in the cost of services and additional duties placed on us.

“However, I believe the proposals that have been put forward are fair and minimise the impact as much as possible on services for residents and our staff. They also reflect many of the views expressed by residents who took part in the Local Area Budget Survey.

“We would now like to hear what residents think of the final budget proposals we are now putting forward.”

The proposals set out by the council for the 2011 to 2012 financial year include:

* a proposed revenue budget of £17,896,565

* A draw from General Fund Reserves of £250k in 2011/12

* a proposed increase in the recommended level of the General Fund Reserve range from £1.5-£2 million to £2m-£2.5 million – reflecting the additional risk in future year budgets following cuts in grant funding

* proposed efficiency and savings proposals of £2,264,880

* no proposals to cut front line services

* additional ongoing investment in priority areas of £403,550 despite significant cuts in government grant funding

* one-off investment, during 2011/12 only, totalling £233,700

* a proposed freeze on council tax proposed capital expenditure of £925,000 for new schemes and a further £1.8 million for Invest to Save schemes, £579,000 for vehicle and equipment replacement and £378,000 for IT schemes.

To provide feedback visit www. scarborough.gov.uk/budget2011 or complete a feedback form at any of the council’s Customer First centres in Scarborough and across the rest of the borough.