Options put forward for budget cuts
12:01pm Tuesday 22nd October 2013 in News
WORK has started on forming a budget in Carmarthenshire to include savings of around £30million over the next three years.
A seminar took place in Ffwrnes Theatre this week where delegates were given 52 options for meeting the targets.
Participants included county councillors, trade union representatives, the local media and businesses.
Council Leader Cllr Kevin Madge gave the opening address. He said: “This is the start of a journey which will culminate in setting the final budget in March.
“Whatever we do over the next few months we have to end up with a legal budget, we have to balance our books.
“Our priority is to keep as many public services going as we can, the challenge for members is how to do this within these financial constraints.
“We are no different to other councils in Wales, we are all facing the same problems, no matter what our political colours.
“My message to councillors is that we are here to represent our electorate, we all need to do this.
“These are not normal cuts – these are cuts on an unprecedented scale. There will be tough and unpopular decisions to make, but we have to do what we must to keep vital services going and present a balanced and legal budget.”
The seminar heard that officers have already found millions of pounds of savings through taking managerial decisions.
Members now need to take policy decisions for the remainder of the savings needed, with all suggestions being considered.
The options put forward at the seminar included reducing highways maintenance, increasing the cost of school meals and the rationalisation of day centres.
Each table of delegates was given the task of determining which of the 52 options would potentially be acceptable to them, and which they could never approve.
They were also asked to make their own suggestions for budget savings, or for generating income.
Full public consultation is due to start in the next two weeks, and will include a series of local events.
People will be able to give their views by post, email or via a consultation section on the council website which will be launched in a few weeks time.
Consultation will also take place with groups such as the Citizens Panel, the 50+ Forum, Youth Forum and Carmarthenshire Disability Coalition.
By February, the executive board needs to form a draft budget to present to council in March.