Have your say on tax rise or service cuts
Council asks public to help it make ‘tough decision’
BUCKS County Council is inviting people to have their say on whether the authority should raise taxes or cut services to plug a £12million shortfall.
The survey, Tough Decisions For Tough Times, aims to get people involved in helping to decide which areas of the council’s work spending should be focused on.
The survey will be posted to a random selection of 3,000 people and community groups, while businesses are also being asked to take part.
Cabinet member for community engagement Martin Phillips (Con) said: “It’s more important than ever for people to take part in budget decision-making.
He added: “The county council is facing its biggest ever challenge this year, and we need our residents to help us make what will be some very difficult decisions on the areas of work where we should prioritise spending.”
Last year the county council increased council tax by 1.5 per cent and the survey asks people whether it should increase again or be frozen.
In the past three years, the council’s central government funding has reduced by 40 per cent and it has reduced spending by £55million.
A further decrease in government funding will lead the council to have a £12million budget gap for next year.
UKIP county councillor Chris Adams said: “It is about what services people need and what is less important.
“It is very difficult for the council as we still have lower funding from the government and an increase in services as we have an ageing population. It is difficult to find answers.”
The county’s UKIP councillors were against the council tax rise last year as they would have preferred to see an extra government contribution, but the party has not discussed whether it would be against a council tax rise for the next financial year.
The survey is online at w w w. bu c k s c c . g ov. u k / budget until the closing date, November 9.