Friday 5pm: Residents will have to pay nearly £40 for brown bin collections as Peterborough City Council try and balance the books in their 2014/2015 budget.
The proposals for the city council’s budget were released today (24 January), and show the council had to find savings and efficiencies worth £19 million to make up for a £9 million cut in government grants.
The proposals to close a number of children’s centres in the city and cuts to transport for special school pupils form part of the savings, as are plans to charge residents £39 per year to have brown garden waste bins collected (reduced by £3 for an early bird saving).
There are also plans to try and recruit more foster carers and adoption rates to reduce the cost of looked after children in the city
However, the council also announced a £26 million investment in education to provide new school places for city children, an additional £1 million in adult social care services (view a public consulation at livingmylifepeterborough.org.uk), and extra £1 million to pay for the growing number of children in care.
Council tax rates will also remain frozen for two years.
Councillor David Seaton, Cabinet Member for Resources, said: “It continues to be a very difficult financial climate and if we are to keep our local economy buoyant, it is more important than ever that we keep council tax low to give our residents more money in their pockets.
“Therefore, we are proposing to freeze council tax again next year and the year after and this would mean we will have frozen council tax for four out of five years.
“However, we have had to make some incredibly difficult decisions this year as we balance our legal duty to protect those who are most vulnerable in our community, whilst continuing to provide the services you care about and make this city the great place it is to live, work and visit.
“We cannot ignore the growing demands for adult services as a result of our ageing population – in the next decade the number over 85s living in Peterborough will increase by a half. We also have the second highest birth rate in England, and we have a rising number of children in care with increasingly complex needs.
“But unlike some other towns and cities we are still able to keep our libraries, museum and theatres open.
“However, we need to look at other ways to fund other discretionary services such as the brown bin garden waste collection which is only used by a proportion of residents but costs us over £800,000 a year to run.
“We believe our budget proposals provide a balance between making savings and efficiencies while also continuing to invest in the city to ensure we continue to attract new investment and jobs into Peterborough.”
The budget will now go to council scrutiny committees over the next six weeks, before being considered at a meeting of the full council in March.
A consultation has now launched on the proposals. A council spokesowoman said: “Do you have any comments to make about any of the proposals?
“If you do not agree with any of the proposals tell us what you think we could do instead to balance our books?
“Do you agree that council tax should be frozen? If not, where would you suggest we invest the extra £500,000 generated by increasing council tax by the government’s current two per cent threshold?
“Are there any other suggestions you would like to make?”
People can respond to the consultation by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
By post by writing to Financial Services Manager, Peterborough City Council, Town Hall, Bridge Street, Peterborough, PE1 1HG
We will have more details from the proposals and reaction to the budget proposals this week, view the full document: Peterborough City Council’s 2014/15 budget 2014/15 and medium term financial plan to 2023/24.