Locals Asked For Views On Council

Wellingborough Council is asking residents to give their views on what services are important to them, as it tries to save nearly £2 million.

This financial year, which runs up to the end of March, the council has had around £12.7 million to spend, which is used for running the council and providing services for the public.

The services are divided into statutory (the council is legally required to provide them) and non-statutory (they are additional services provided for the benefit of the community).

The £12.7m available to spend this year has been made up by:

£3.2m from council tax
£6.9m from fees and charges
£2.5m from reserves (money in the bank)
£6.1m from the government giving a share of nationally-collected business rates
£0.9m from a government grant.

However, over the next few years the money the council receives from the government (the business rates and grant money) will be dramatically reduced, and reserves have reached a low level which must be kept aside for emergencies. This means that for the next financial year (running from April 2011 until March 2012) the council only has £9.4m available to spend.

Considerable savings have been identified in the way the council is run and the way things are done behind-the-scenes, but even with these savings the council’s expenditure still stands at £11.2m. This means that a further £1.8m needs to be saved, and some services may have to be stopped in order to do this.

Councillor Paul Bell, deputy leader of the council said: “This is an opportunity for people to tell us what they think. It is vitally important that we hear from as many people as possible during this consultation, so that we can work together to find the best solutions to meet the needs of local people. We want people to tell us which of our services are most important to them, and which are least important, so that we can use this information to help us decide on the budget for next year and influence how the extra £1.8m of savings can be found.”

The consultation documentation will be available on the council’s website www.wellingborough.gov.uk and paper copies will be available in the council’s receptions, or by phoning 01933 229 777 and requesting a copy in the post. The consultation runs until 31 January, and the final budget will be considered by Councillors at a full council meeting on 1 March.

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