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19 - Budget commitment to green care and free parking

budget 2017

Council leaders have confirmed their commitment to free parking and the maintenance of the borough’s parks and green spaces in this year’s budget.

An extra £200,000 is proposed for more weed spraying, litter collection and grass cutting, along with an increased maintenance regime in borough parks and maintenance of public rights of way.

While shoppers and business are also set to benefit under plans to invest £400,000 into continuing one-hour free parking on all council owned car parks, long term.

There will also be a £5.6m investment in support services for vulnerable adults and children.  

The council does, however, continue to identify where further savings can be made, with minimum impact on front line services.

In the budget report, additional savings of £4 million are proposed for 2018/19, moving up to £5.6million by 2019/120 and remaining at £5.6m 2020/21.

Targeting interventions to people most at risk of falls will help keep people safe and prevent high social care costs, while there will be the expansion of the shared lives service, an adult fostering service, to enable more people to live in the community, with less reliance on public services.

Additional savings are set to be achieved by the council reducing the number of buildings it leases and also investing in low cost LED lights on main roads.

The council will also continue with its transformation agenda, including a review of its procurement structures, the implementation of a new digital customer services platform and restructuring the council’s HR and transformation services to create a business change team.

The cabinet is proposing a 2.99 per cent increase in council tax which includes a 1 per cent precept for adult social care, (equivalent to 70p per week for a band D property) but before a decision is made members are keen for local residents to have their say on the proposed increase.  Residents will be asked to complete the big question consultation, which will be launched next month.

Despite this proposed increase, borough residents will continue to pay one of the lowest rates of council tax in the country.

The council is also predicting a growth in income from business rates of £1m a year.

But the report forecasts that there will still be a deficit of £4.2 million by 2020/21 if additional savings, efficiencies and income are not found.

The proposals are part of the council’s medium term financial strategy and are set to go before the council’s cabinet on October 26, followed by a public consultation.

Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council said:

“This is a budget about investment, about putting money back into services, so we can all be proud of the borough we live in and the services available to all residents.

 “We recognise these are still very tough times for local authorities but it’s important we remain focused on continuing to provide quality front line services to our residents.

“As an authority we are always looking for ways of providing services to borough residents more efficiently.”

Councillor Steve Clark, cabinet member for finance, said:

“All areas of the authority are working to deliver savings to ensure we can deliver a balanced budget that is in the interest of Dudley residents.

“But we are also looking at the opportunities to invest in services and this budget is about us confirming our commitment to investing in those areas that residents have raised concerns with us about, such as free car parking and tackling overgrown grass and weeds.

Dudley Council has worked to minimise compulsory redundancies throughout the last few years. This year’s budget proposals impact on around 35 full-time equivalent jobs.

The full report can be found here

News Release Contact Information

pressoffice@dudley.gov.uk - 01384 815219