WREXHAM residents could face having their bins collected less often and being charged more to park as the local authority faces a potential budget shortfall of more than £7m.

Three weekly bin collections and a price hike of between 20p to 50p for parking are two options being considered by Wrexham Council as it looks to plug next year’s budget gap.

A council tax increase of at least 5.5 per cent and a reduction in the standard of road repairs are also being consulted on as senior figures warn they are struggling to find alternatives following funding reductions from central government.

The council originally predicted a financial shortage of £5.4m in 2020/21, but now says that amount could rise to £7.2m depending on the spending priorities of ministers in both Westminster and Cardiff.

It’s estimated reducing the frequency of black bin collections from fortnightly to once every three weeks will achieve savings of £47,000 per year, while hiking the cost of town centre parking could generate income of £71,000.

Council leader Mark Pritchard, who heads up the independent and Conservative-led administration, insisted the authority had been left with little option given the difficult financial outlook.

He said: “We don’t want to do this. We just don’t have a choice.

“Welsh Government is gradually starving us of funding – forcing us to cut the services we provide for local people. It’s heart-breaking. People in Wrexham don’t deserve that.

“But we’re now past the tipping point, and we’ve got no choice but to cut or stop services when our budget is being reduced by so much.

“We’ll keep lobbying Welsh Government until it realises it can’t keep hurting public services and leaving places like Wrexham to suffer.

“And we’re urging people to lobby their Assembly Members for a better deal for Wrexham.

“But there’s no doubt we’re going to have to make some really difficult decisions that will hit people hard.”

The council has drawn up a number of proposals to save money, and launched a public consultation to get feedback.

Other options include generating more income from community resource centres and the town’s Memorial Hall.

In the survey, it said the move to three weekly collections would help to reduce carbon emissions after it recently declared a climate emergency.

The change in frequency was considered as part of last year’s budget plans, but not pursued.

The document states: “Welsh Government guidance is that local authorities should look to move to monthly household waste collections in order to increase the amount of waste we recycle, protect the environment and reduce costs.

“So far in Wales we haven’t seen any areas achieve this standard.

“However, a number of areas have moved to collection of this household bin once-every-three-weeks.

“We believe that due to an increased need to address environmental pressures, and deliver an efficient service the time has come for us to introduce three-weekly bin collections for your black/blue bins.

“It is estimated that approximately eight per cent of the council’s carbon emissions come from waste, and therefore this is something we must address, and which contributes to our decarbonisation action-plan.”

The consultation will run until November 13, with the authority expected to set its final budget in February next year.

Visit http://www.yourvoicewrexham.net/survey/977