Views expressed by Powys residents played a key part in influencing the final council budget which was approved by Full Council on Thursday 25th February 2016.
This will see savings of £10m realised during the financial year 2016/17.
In the autumn we asked you to consider a range of proposals to make savings to the tune of £27m over the next three financial years. Proposals like moving to a four weekly refuse collection, raising the admission age for children starting school, reducing the number of libraries across Powys, increasing the cost of school meals and cutting grant aid to voluntary groups.
Residents were able to consider each proposal and the consequences and then select which they would take forward to make the necessary savings and balance the budget.
Nearly 500 residents completed this exercise.
Your views during the year on transport and refuse collections were also considered when taking the final decisions around budget savings.
Download the key findings report - key findings from budget engagement, consultation and research conducted during 2014/15
Protect and sustain services including community support and short breaks for children with disabilities.
Protect services for children who may be at risk and thus need to be looked after by the authority.
Find savings in areas like catering and cleaning and corporate support services first.
Don’t cut budgets to the point where there may be difficulties maintaining statutory requirements. In particular residents focused here on Trading Standards, Environmental Health and Planning services.
Reduce the number of councillors and senior managers. You have too many.
Public transport is vital for rural communities in Powys.
You’ve only just introduced three weekly refuse collections.
Sustained the budget for short breaks for children with disabilities.
Given Children's Services two years grace to make some savings but asked them to ensure children at risk are fully supported.
Increased the price of school meals and asked bigger schools to collaborate and provide meals to small schools so as to save money.
Begun looking at how to save money by franchising staff canteens.
Given schools the responsibility to employ their own cleaning staff.
Protected the budgets for Trading Standards, Environmental Health and Planning so as to ensure they can meet their statutory obligations going forward.
Reviewed and continue to review the restructure at the council so as to ensure we don’t have too many senior managers in post. Regarding the number of councillors - it's the Boundary Commission which determines how many councillors there are in each county.
Recognised that public transport changes have only recently taken place and are reluctant to reduce services further based on the comments received via the public consultation exercise held last summer.
Recognised that for a number of residents a move to three weekly refuse collections is proving difficult. We want to allow more time for residents to get used to this change and help and support those who need it to recycle all they can going forward. This will reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfill and ensure we meet the targets set by Welsh Government.
Don't want to do the simulator but still want to comment?
Not sure you want to do the simulator? Have other ideas and comments to submit? Found it too hard an exercise or simply don't have the time and want to feedback your view?
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We have little choice about how much money we need to save but we do have choices about where we find this level of saving.
To try and put it in perspective £27m is the equivalent to our total current net budget for highways, transport and recycling services. In simple terms this would mean no refuse or recycling collection, no street cleaning or street lighting, no road maintenance (so more potholes) and few, if any, buses in the future.
The above scenario won’t happen but we do need to consider all the services we provide and prioritise which ones are the most and least important.
We have set out some saving proposals which total more than the £27m needed in a budget simulator. It allows you to consider each proposal and the consequences if implemented. Please take part.
Last year we ran events across the county to gain views on how and where savings might be made. All the views given have fed into this process.
If you want to familiarise yourself with the situation
read the latest press release here.