Cuts likely for cash-strapped coun­cil

Bangor Mail - - NEWS -

A CASH-strapped coun­cil is to ask lo­cals for their opin­ion on what ser­vices could be cut to make fur­ther sav­ings of nearly £7m in the next three years.

An­gle­sey Coun­cil have re­ceived draft de­tails of the cash they can ex­pect from the Welsh Gov­ern­ment in the next fi­nan­cial year and coun­cil chiefs ex­pect this to lead to a £2m short­fall.

In ad­di­tion the coun­cil needs to find £600,000 to cover ad­di­tional pay costs and £125,000 to fund the En­ergy Is­land project.

Of­fi­cials have drawn up a list of pos­si­ble cuts in ser­vices and sav­ings and are to be­gin a con­sul­ta­tion with res­i­dents next week.

Among the pro­pos­als put for­ward is a 4% in­crease in coun­cil tax. This could be in­creased to 5% with the ad­di­tional cash raised spent solely on so­cial ser­vices.

Staffing could be re­duced with roles com­bined and va­cant posts not be­ing filled. Other mea­sures in­clude re­duc­tions grants to cul­tural or­gan­i­sa­tions in­clud­ing com­mu­nity news­pa­pers, stop hav­ing a coun­cil pres­ence at the An­gle­sey Show, trans­fer­ring the care of pub­lic con­ve­niences to other or­gan­i­sa­tions and del­e­gat­ing more of the re­pairs and main­te­nance bud­gets to schools. Coun­cil leader Lli­nos Medi said she was de­ter­mined not to use coun­cil bal­ances to plug the gaps.

“That would be un­wise. Once that money is spent it’s gone.

“We’ve re­ceived a draft bud­get from the Welsh Gov­ern­ment that gives us a short­fall this year of two mil­lion pounds.

“We are go­ing out to con­sult with our pro­pos­als to the pub­lic to ask them for their opin­ion on where they want us to pri­ori­tise our ser­vices and if they agree with what we’ve got on the ta­ble.

“We are ask­ing the pub­lic for their opin­ion re­gard­ing an in­crease of an ex­tra one per cent for so­cial ser­vices.

“But that’s just for us to ask peo­ple would they agree with that or not.”

Cllr Medi said she has dis­cussed the con­stant cuts in Welsh Gov­ern­ment fund­ing with other coun­cil lead­ers.

“Un­for­tu­nately this is what we’ve had for sev­eral years. As an author­ity we’ve made £14 mil­lion of cuts over the past four years.

The 22 lead­ers of lo­cal au­thor­i­ties in Wales met at Mold re­cently.

“We were all dis­cussing how dif­fi­cult it has be­come to keep our statu­tory ser­vices at the stan­dard we ex­pect them to reach.

“We are con­stantly ask­ing the Welsh Gov­ern­ment to sup­port lo­cal gov­ern­ment be­cause our ser­vices do make a dif­fer­ence to peo­ple’s lives.

“We keep peo­ple in their com­mu­ni­ties and we need the Welsh Gov­ern­ment to re­alise how im­por­tant lo­cal gov­ern­ment is to the peo­ple of Wales.”

The pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion be­gins on Novem­ber 7.

An­gle­sey Coun­cil leader, Cllr Lli­nos Medi

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