Public budget meeting for residents
12:01am 13th December 2011
(Updated 8:11am 13th December 2011)
City of York Council is reminding residents that they can help shape the authority's 2012-14 budget at a public meeting tonight (Tuesday 13th December 2011).
The council is launching its 2012-14 budget setting process with a public drop-in session at the Mansion House on Tuesday 13th December, when for the first time residents will be able to discuss the council's budget priorities with Cabinet members and senior officers face to face. The event will be held from 6.30pm-8.30pm and will provide residents and councillors with an opportunity to discuss the financial issues facing the city in a relaxed and informal atmosphere.
Councillor Julie Gunnell, Cabinet member for Corporate Services, said:
"It's vitally important that local people have the opportunity to tell us how they would like us to spend their money, particularly given the difficult financial situation the council is facing.
"We are in the second year of a four-year government funding allocation, which will see a reduction in Local Government spending by over 28 per cent, and is nationally recognised as the most challenging budget round of a generation.
"We are working hard to deliver £22m of savings over the next two years, but like many other local authorities across the country, we're also experiencing unavoidable pressures, such as an ageing population, increasing numbers of children under the council's care and increasing fuel prices. With the current government funding system as it is, it will not be possible to maintain all current services."
For anyone who can't make the event on 13th December, there is a second event at York CVS, the Priory Street Centre, on Thursday 15th December from 1pm-4pm. The event is specifically aimed at voluntary organisations, but members of the public are welcome to attend.
A special business budget event will be held in January for representatives from York's business community and the council is also meeting with members of York's Youth Council to hear their views on what the spending priorities should be.
Residents can also try their hand at budgeting through an online budget evaluation tool called 'You Choose'. The survey provides a breakdown of exactly where the council's monies are spent at the moment and then asks residents to tackle the difficult balancing act of cutting millions of pounds from the budget and keeping increases to council tax low, while protecting vital services.
The responses to the survey will help the council understand what services are most important to residents and where they would be most willing to see savings made. The survey is available online click here
Councillor James Alexander said:
"Our aim is to set a prudent two-year spending plan which ensures the long term economic and social prosperity of the city, which is driven by our manifesto pledges and underpinned by a commitment to create a fairer city for all.
"This is the first time the council is holding face-to-face drop-in sessions and I would urge people to come along to the event and let us hear their views. Despite the difficult financial situation we want this to be a genuine people's budget, prioritising the needs of the most vulnerable residents in our city."
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