Last day to respond to Wrexham Council's cuts consultation

Reporter:

Jonathan Grieve

The clock is ticking as Wrexham Council’s budget consultation draws to a close.

So far, more than 3,000 people have responded as the authority seeks the views of the Wrexham public on proposed cuts over the next two years.

The council is tasked with axeing £13 million from its budget between 2018-20 and last month, it launched a consultation on a number of proposed cuts.

Among the suggestions were controversial plans to axe the schools music service and cut the number of park rangers in the county’s country parks.

And views were also sought on alternatives to the proposals, with Cllr Alun Jenkins suggesting a council tax increase could allow some services to be saved.

Those yet to respond have until midnight to make their voices heard.

Earlier this month, council leader Cllr Mark Pritchard said there would be no sacred cows protected from budget cuts as he urged more residents to take part in the consultation.

Cllr Pritchard insisted the council would consider all suggestions and not just listen to those who are the loudest.

The local authority is looking to slash £13 million from its budget over the next two years – about £6.5m per year.

Demolishing or transferring ownership of bowling greens and disused community centres, ending a funding agreement for PCSOs early, higher council tax, fewer offices, increased school meals prices and charging Blue Badge holders for using car parks are among the many cuts and savings proposed in the draft Difficult Decisions consultation.

The shortfall is in addition to the £18m already saved over the last three years and an overall saving of £52m since 2008.

The document proposes that £300,000 could be saved in 2019/20 by ending council funding for school music.

An estimated £206,000 could be saved in 2018/19 with ‘general efficiencies’ in the environmental department, which would include offering bowling facilities and pavilions to community councils or bowling clubs to manage.

The document states that reduced staff numbers due to the reshaping of services means a reduced need for office space, and that an estimated £229,000 could be saved in 2019/20.

It is also proposed to cut the number of rangers at the county borough’s 11 country parks, with the Streetscene service helping staff to clean the parks.

Facilities and staff that are grant supported will continue to be maintained according to the grant criteria.

The council provides funding to the North Wales police and crime commissioner to fund PCSOs, with the agreement set to end in March 2019.

It is proposed to bring this forward to October 2018.

To respond to the consultation online, go to www.yourvoice wrexham.net

WREXHAM Council’s homes and environment scrutiny committee members will examine budget proposals which come under their remit.

On Monday, the committee will meet at the Guildhall to put together recommendations based on the suggested cuts.

Among those on the table for discussion are plans to introduce a £30 per year charge for the collection of additional green waste bins and revoking free parking entitlement of council staff and members in town centre car parks.

The report will be presented at the meeting by council leader, Cllr Mark Pritchard.

Head of finance, Mark Owen, said: “Any recommendations made by this committee will be included in the executive board report on January 9, 2018 for its consideration.

”It must be recognised that the timescales associated with preparing the savings is particularly tight given the announcement of the settlement on October 9.

The scale of the savings required means difficult decisions which we have consulted on with staff, the public and unions.

”Any feedback from the committee on the potential impacts of these savings proposals is welcomed but it must be stressed that, if proposals are removed, then care should be taken by the committee if recommending any alternative proposals in a public meeting without first consulting with staff and unions.”

Controversial plans to reduce the number of park rangers working in the county’s country parks, introducing car parking charges at country parks and charging blue badge holders for off-street parking will also be discussed.

Fees at council allotments are to be reviewed, as will proposals to transfer the remaining council-run bowling greens.

There have also been suggestions of increasing the annual fee for bus passes to £100 and increasing cremation costs by £50 from £663 to £713.

Other proposals included a review of the frequency of residual waste collection and plans to install energy-saving LEDs on council streetlights.

The meeting will be held at 11am on Monday.

Email:

jonathan.grieve@nwn.co.uk

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  • Tanya2245

    21:09, 30 November 2017

    To save this 18million, you need to make money first, and this can be achieved by dropping the rental costings, of businesses in and around wrexham, this will then open up opportunities for new and established companies to thrive in wrexham, Empty building do not bring in revenue, this will then Bring more custom back to wrexham, away from the competition e.g. Broughton, Chester, oswestry, thus increasing jobs, and putting wrexham back to where it was 20years ago when it was booming, more concerts in wrexham football stadium is a great opportunity, as this has shown in the past. Stereo phonics! Even with the economy as it is, people do have money to spend, as our completion is thriving, so Working smarter will achiev wrexham success.

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