Every resident across Wrexham is being urged to take part in the council’s ongoing budget consultation – with hopes thousands more will participate this year.
Around 2,000 people have taken part in Wrexham Council’s ‘Difficult Decisions’ consultation about the local authority budget changes – with most questions revolving around cutting or charging more for services.
Wrexham.com spoke to Council Leader Mark Pritchard over the thousands of signatories to petitions and lots of chatter online about the document, however we pointed out there did seem to be a disconnect between those and actual fill outs of the whole consultation survey.
Cllr Pritchard said he was ‘delighted by the conversation on social media’, however urged “every resident of Wrexham to take some time to fill out the consultation.”
Speaking on the previous consultation response numbers he said: “If you look at the population of the area it is not a lot, and I would like more. We can only do our bit, it is up to the people of Wrexham to let us know what they think.
“As Leader of Wrexham Council I think we are one of the best in Wales, others do not as much or half as much as we do to consult.”
Although the current figures look to top any previous consultation, Cllr Pritchard said: “I am disappointed, I want eight… ten… fifteen thousand people to respond. It is a very easy process.”
Sitting alongside Cllr Pritchard was Councillor David A Bithell, and Wrexham Chief Executive Dr Helen Paterson.
Cllr Bithell said: “I would echo the comments and encourage people to feedback. It is one of the most difficult budget consultations.
“These things do not sit easy with us, they really are difficult decisions. I would say to opposition groups as well, if they have proposals then come forward with them. There is lots on social media saying it is terrible, well come forward. We have to set a budget.”
Cllr Pritchard went on to encourage the ‘normal person’ to respond, stating: “We know the views of the political activists and politicians, they have made their positions clear. We want to get to the people of mine, Dave’s, Helen’s communities and get their views.
“We know what the activists say and do on social media, but we want to hear from the Mrs Jones or Mr Williams of Wrexham. We want to have a broad understanding. It is not about just hearing from those who shout the loudest.
“We want to hear so we can try and make a decision that fits what the people of Wrexham want to retain and keep.”
Cllr Pritchard voiced his concerns about social media, and general clickbaity hits driven outputs, and the impact it can have on consultations, adding: “We can’t be seen to be reacting to social political media that is engineered by groups on the back of politics. It is so important we look at this on an understanding of what the people of Wrexham want.”
“I would be delighted if there are more people who would make the effort and fill it in, and I am on about genuine local people who have no party politics or tricks to play.”
If you are a Mr Jones, Mr Williams or anyone in Wrexham and not yet had your say the document outlining Wrexham Council’s proposals can be found here. You can fill in the online consultation here and you have until November 30th to do so!