Posted: Wed 3rd Feb 2016

Executive Board discusses future budget /
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Feb 3rd, 2016

Carmarthenshire’s Executive Board today recommended a budget which would see a number of savings proposals thrown out. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

They also recommended a council tax increase of 3.85% – lower than the 5% originally proposed. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Some 29 proposals were put forward for efficiency savings, however a number were not acceptable to the Board. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

They include cuts to flood defence, land drainage and coastal protection; highways infrastructure maintenance; ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

It follows extensive consultation with the public, councillors, town and community councils, young people, schools, the youth council, 50+ forum, general public, Equality Carmarthenshire and the Carmarthenshire Disability Coalition for Action. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The board considered the findings of the consultation and will not recommend proceeding with the following proposals: ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Proposal to reduce the flood defence, land drainage and coastal protection budget is withdrawn for the three years, total value £118,000.
Reduction of £512,000 in highways infrastructure maintenance budget is removed for year one.
A proposal to reduce the cleansing services and environment enforcement budget is removed for each of the three years, total value £252,000.
The introduction of a charge for home to school transport is deferred for two years.
The saving for short breaks/respite for disabled children and young people to be removed altogether, taking away a cut of £50,000.
The Meals on Wheels proposed cost increase to be phased over three years as opposed to be implemented in one, reducing the saving in the first year by £38,000. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Along with the removal of these items from the budget proposals, the Executive Board is recommending investment of £50,000 in youth services to help vulnerable young people; and £200,000 to fund £2.4million of capital expenditure on the highways and supporting infrastructure network in the areas of greatest need. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Resources Executive Board Member Cllr David Jenkins said: “I believe this is a sustainable and viable budget strategy which responds to the consultation concerns, ensures as far as possible that service levels and standards are maintained, recognises that people are finding it hard in the current climate and therefore minimises, as far as possible, any increase in the council tax, and prepares the authority for any future reductions in funding that may lie ahead.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The budget proposals will go before Council for decision on February 10. The meeting will be webcast on the Council website. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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