We continue to find ourselves in unprecedented times with further reductions in funding from national government and, like many other councils, we are constantly battling to balance the books.
As part of this year’s budget proposals we have set out plans to save £25million over the next three years. But on our forecasts this means we will have a gap of a further £9million to find.
The savings are in response to the £76million reduction in government funding since 2010, which is set to rise to more than £92million over the next three years.
That is starting to have an effect on the services you receive, which is something we do not want and something we know you do not expect.
Despite these difficulties we have put party politics aside and worked together to produce a balanced budget. However, that does come with a number of challenges for us and you.
Simply cutting services is not enough – we are having to totally redesign them to find the millions of pounds worth of savings needed. From the way we provide care to the elderly and vulnerable to how we manage our office space in partnership with other organisations, we need to leave no stone unturned in looking to save money.
In previous years we have listened to what you have to say through the Big Question and many other ways we work with you, to find out which services are most important to you and which ones you can help deliver.
We know that adult social care, children’s services, your bins, street cleaning and safer communities continue to top your lists of important services, which is why we have worked hard to protect them as much as we can.
We are planning to increase council tax by 3.99 per cent next year – with half that going directly into services for adult social care, following your helpful feedback. If these proposals are agreed next year, the people of this borough will continue to pay one of the lowest council tax rates in the country.
We have also listened when it comes to your feedback about street care and we are planning to reinvest £70,000 into tackling weeds across the borough.
This year’s Big Question looks at other services which may be important to you and how any proposed reductions will affect you and your household.
As a community council we are continuing to look to deliver services in partnership with groups, organisations and residents, helping people to help themselves. But sometimes difficult decisions need to be made and we need your help to work through this.
Councillor David Sparks, cabinet member for finance at Dudley Council
The consultation runs until February 10 before a decision is made at a meeting of the full council on March 6 next year.
You can also print and download a hard copy below and return it to us