Hike in parking charges to help council budget
ASHFORD council has revealed it needs to make savings of nearly £3.5 million over the next five years.
Despite an expected rise in council tax next year and an increased pot of cash from the government, the council says it needs to tighten its purse strings. Around £750,000 needs to be saved in the 2010/11 budget.
The authority hopes to raise cash by upping parking charges by 10p from April which will raise an extra £50,000 a year. Another £40,000 in savings could be made by transferring the ownership of public toilets to parish councils. Jobs not filled will also be axed.
Energy saving measures are also to be implemented. ABC spends about £600,000 on utility bills including £220,000 a year for electricity and £100,000 for gas.
The council plans to apply for a loan to install Voltage Optimisation Technology which cuts the voltage from 240V to 220V. This is expected to save the council eight per cent on its annual bills.
The draft budget will go to the overview and scrutiny committee before its conclusions go back to the executive in February for adoption. To view the budget visit www.ashford. gov.uk
Cllr Michael Claughton