Pembrokeshire County Council is asking the public to help the Authority set its budget for the coming financial year, 2021-22.
The budget determines the amount of money available for key public services that we all use in Pembrokeshire.
This includes education and schools, social services and waste collections as well as leisure facilities, road maintenance, libraries and many other aspects of everyday life.
County residents can use the special interactive budget simulator at https://haveyoursay.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/budget-consultation-2021-22 to determine how you would distribute money to services.
People can also fill out a short survey to have their say on the budget and ask questions.
Cllr Bob Kilmister, the Cabinet Member for Finance, will be providing regular video updates answering residents’ questions.
The Council is facing a £14.5m projected funding gap and is considering the best way to bridge that gap.
The Cabinet is proposing that individual service budgets are flat-lined for 2021-22, meaning all inflationary, demand and other pressures would have to be met through cost reductions and / or efficiency savings.
The Cabinet is also proposing to raise Council Tax to help meet pressures on services.
Assuming a 5% increase in Council Tax, there is £10m of additional funding which can be allocated to some services to help reduce some pressures.
With £1.3m of this funding already allocated, residents can use the budget tool to place the remaining £8.7m with the services you feel need it the most.
The budget tool shows the level of money that could be raised per Council Tax option and the level of cost reductions / efficiencies required as a result.
Over the past seven years, Pembrokeshire County Council has bridged a funding gap of £98.1m, mainly through substantial cost reductions and efficiencies, totalling £73.8m.
Other contributions have come from increased Council Tax income, Council Tax second homes income (one-off) and a £700,000 contribution from reserves (one-off).
Cllr Kilmister, said: “Setting the budget is one of the most important functions of this Council.
“We expect a 4% rise in our grant from the Welsh Government but this still leaves a projected funding gap of £14.5m.
“The decisions to be made will have an impact on the services we provide and therefore impact on the people of Pembrokeshire.
“We face some tough decisions ahead of us so it is very important that residents get involved, tell us their priorities and have their say.”
To give your views please go to https://haveyoursay.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/budget-consultation-2021-22 and fill out the short online survey. Alternatively, please print out a hard copy and once complete, scan in and email to firstname.lastname@example.org or post to: Pembrokeshire County Council, County Hall, Haverfordwest, SA61 1TP.
The closing date for responses is 7th February, 2021.
The responses will be compiled into a report and made available to Council for consideration in its final decision making.
A final decision will made at the Council meeting on Thursday 4th March 2021.