Budget Cuts Of More Than £350,000 In Grounds Maintenance
Budget cuts of more than £350,000 in grounds maintenance have had an impact on grass management, Powys County Council has said.
The council cut £200,000 from the grounds maintenance funding in 2014/15 to meet budget reductions and is planning a further £160,000 reduction in coming years to meet new funding cuts.
Cabinet Member for Highways, Councillor John Brunt said; “The consequence of budget cuts of the scale faced by the service was always going to be visible in our communities with a reduction in the level of service provided. The issue, however, has been exacerbated by problems experienced by our new contractors.
“To achieve the budget reductions we have had to standardise cutting regimes to a minimum specification and re-tender the county grounds maintenance work. The changes mean municipal areas have 10 cuts per year, highway urban verge areas are cut three times per year and rural highway verges once a year.
“Unfortunately the new contract, which saw a phased start from north to south, did not start well with performance behind schedule and below the standard anticipated. We have raised the issue with the company at the highest level and have been assured that urgent action will be taken to improve performance.
“The company has already committed significant additional resources to the work and we are confident that they are capable of meeting the specified standards and recent performance has been positive.
“While there have been issues with initial performance we have to recognise that the minimal standard specified within the contract may fall short of public expectation. With a reduction in the number of cuts per year it is inevitable that there will be areas of long grass in the lead-up to scheduled cuts.”
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