Council's £700,000 budget shortfall

By Jenni DixonA COUNCIL has calculated a shortfall of more than £700,000 in its budget estimates for the next financial year.Officers at Waveney District Council have estimated the gap for the 2005/2006 budget at £708,000.

By Jenni Dixon

A COUNCIL has calculated a shortfall of more than £700,000 in its budget estimates for the next financial year.

Officers at Waveney District Council have estimated the gap for the 2005/2006 budget at £708,000.

But if the council cannot find ways of making up the shortfall from savings, services, assets and income, the remaining option available to councillors would be to increase the level of council tax.


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The figures were included in a report of the results of a residents' survey into which council services were the most important to them.

Rubbish collection and recycling, street cleaning and road and footpath maintenance were voted as the top three council services that north Suffolk residents felt were vital.

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But Mark Bee, leader of the Conservative-controlled council, said the size of the annual Government grant had a big effect on the amount of money that was spent locally.

“For 2005/2006 the council will be receiving a 0.6% increase in cash terms when inflation is remaining steady at 3%,” he added.

“This means that there is a reduction of funding to the council's operating spending budget of approximately £530,000 and we have to find ways to balance the budget.”

He said the results of the survey would be considered by councillors when deciding upon council spending for next year.

The questionnaire was sent to every home in the Waveney district asking residents to evaluate a number of services, such as beach lifeguards and beach cleaning, creating and keeping jobs, home improvement grants, access to council services and information, improving town centres and public areas and holding leisure events.

Of the 53,083 letters sent, 16,246 responses were received by the deadline - a response rate of 30.6%.

jenni.dixon@eadt.co.uk

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