23rd Sep, 2019

Investment and savings in proposed City Council budget

Rob George 6th Dec, 2016

A £1MILLION investment into improvements across Worcester is being proposed as the city’s ruling Labour group prepare to discuss the budget for the year ahead.

As well as a seven-figure investment, council chiefs also want a focus on finding major savings within the organisation.

Proposals in the draft budget include plans for saving £2.2m over the next three years by transforming how the council delivers its services to deliver greater efficiency.

The move will mean the council will be able to set a balanced budget for 2017/18 and the following two years to focus on finding new sources of income.

Further savings will also be needed to meet an estimated budget shortfall of £372,000 by 2021-22, as the Government reduces its funding to the council.

The 2017/18 budget proposals also include a rise of £5 for average Band D Council Tax properties, equivalent to nine pence per week, and a freeze on charges in City Council car parks.

Other budget proposals include boosting take-up of the £54-a-year garden waste scheme, reducing the administration costs of parking enforcement by potentially introducing automatic number plate recognition and by promoting RingGo, the cashless parking pay-by-phone option.

Staff will be expected to use modern technology to help them work more efficiently and many of them will be retrained.

However, it is expected that there will be a reduction in staff by 31 posts by 2020, which will be achieved through not replacing some posts when staff leave, reducing the number of consultants and agency staff and, potentially, seeking voluntary redundancies.

Council leader Coun Adrian Gregson said: “The City Council is facing major financial challenges over the next five years and we need to be open to any ideas that help us set a balanced budget.

“These budget proposals include ideas from staff and they will be scrutinised by members of all parties.”

“We have an ambitious vision for Worcester and I am pleased we will be able to invest in the future of our city to support our communities and our economy, especially through boosting tourism.”

Members of the cabinet will be asked to back the draft budget at a meeting on December 13 and to refer it to the council’s Performance Management and Budget Scrutiny Committee in January.

The final budget for the year ahead will be debated and voted on during a meeting of the council on February 21.

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