More budget cuts and a further reduction to Wrexham’s services are looming on the horizon.
In a report due to go before the Council Executive Board next Tuesday, the outline budget for the next two years lists a number of possible ways to make the savings. However the report lists new additional cuts added as of 31st March 2014.
Overall Wrexham Council are looking to make a minimum saving of £8.2m for 2015/2016. The cuts come as part of the Council’s ongoing task to ‘reshape services’ and save around £45m over the next five years.
Among the proposed savings for the next two years is the closure of Bersham Heritage Centre, which would make a saving of £58,000. A further reduction of grass maintenance (£200,000), cuts to the school music service ((£68,000) and the removal of a school library service, which would end the relationship with Flintshire and Denbighshire. This would result in no service for schools.
On top of this it is proposed that a number of department restructures and staff reviews take place, with £781,000 being listed as additional savings from staffing ‘reviews’.
A ‘Departmental Management Team restructure’ in Assets & Economic Development is listed as saving £58,000 with just ‘one post’ affected.
£107,000 of cuts are listed for highway maintenance , or non maintenance as it perhaps will become known. Justification is noted as “Ensure more targeted, evidenced and efficient maintenance of the highways network. May result in further deterioration of the network.”
The budget cuts have been met with a strong response from members of the public, with numerous petitions launched to ‘save’ Wrexham’s services. Last year a petition was launched to save the Wrexham music service and more recently one has been launched regarding the grass cutting in the area.
Already there have been significant cuts to services in the area, including a reduction in grass cutting, increase in parking charges in the town centre and the closure of libraries and community centres.
More recently the closure of Plas Madoc Leisure Centre and the looming changes to bus services in Wrexham, which could leave people struggling to get to their workplace.
However many feel as though the reduction in services does not equate to the increase in Council tax. One such person took to our Facebook page recently to say: “What do we pay Council Tax for again? Oh yeah that’s it, nothing!”
The report is not currently on the Council’s website – but you can download it as a PDF by clicking here.
What services would you cut, if any if you were Wrexham Council? We want to hear how you would ‘balance the books’! You can discuss this topic further on our forums here…