Council wants your views
Residents across Northumberland are being invited to share their views on where they feel Northumberland County Council’s spending priorities should lie.
The county council has launched an online survey to start discussions of the budget and is inviting the public to make their thoughts known as it tries to balance next year’s budget.
The authority will have to make an estimated £30m efficiency savings over the coming financial year following £50m savings over the previous two years. In order to do this, councillors have to make some tough decisions on service priorities.
Leader of Northumberland County Council, Councillor Jeff Reid, said: “We need to reduce our operating costs by 10 %. Nevertheless, we remain firmly committed to delivering first class services by focusing on our priorities. We are currently looking at every service, asking whether it can be delivered in a more efficient and effective way. However we need people’s ideas and opinions to help us shape these services.”
A number of factors have conspired to make this year’s budget a particularly challenging one. These include: reductions in grants from the Government; significant reductions in investment income; and reductions in other income sources, such as fees for planning and building regulation applications.
If you do not have access to the internet, there will be other opportunities to make your voice heard. You can get a paper copy of the questionnaire by ringing 0845 600 6400. There will be focus groups and opportunities to contribute at community forums and area committees.
Councillor Andrew Tebbutt, executive member of corporate resources said the financial challenge currently being faced by local authorities was ‘unprecedented’. “We are experiencing some of the worst economic conditions in living memory. Everything we do now is valued by significant parts of the population, so making choices on which services we should give priority to will not be easy.”
“ The more people who have a say, the more accurate a picture we will have of where our future spending priorities should lie.” he said.
The Council’s survey will run until the end of November. You can access it via the Councty council’s website or http://bit.ly/9QUe0Q
The next Community Forum meeting for Amble is on 29th November at Fourways2. If you are on Facebook, you can leave messages on the Forum’s page: http://on.fb.me/d6Al8j or search for Amble Community Forum.