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Council tax to rise as Weymouth and Portland plan more cuts
COUNCILLORS have approved a plan to make savings of almost £1million by cutting services and raising council tax.
Town and parish councils in Weymouth and Portland could be asked to provide more services in a bid to slash costs, and other solutions, including grants are being considered for provisions such as sports facilities.
The Weymouth BID also came under fire in the management committee meeting as Councillor Christine James questioned whether the scheme delivers value for money.
But councillors praised the proposals, which committee chairman Coun Peter Chapman described as a ‘holding budget’ to buy time to make future savings.
The report presented to councillors states that £900,000 of savings will have to be found in the 2014/15 financial year and a further £1,250,000 will have to be made by 2017.
Coun Ian Roebuck warned that generating extra income was important in the face of the cuts.
He said: “I think we have to get across to the public that we are attempting to increase income. It’s not all about savings.”
Coun Ian Bruce, spokesman for tourism and leisure, said the funding cuts do not have to mean a lower level of service.
He said: “We have an extremely good budget here and one which is delivering the services that we will require.
“The tourism and events team have taken quite a hard hit but I believe, despite the fact that there’s been a massive decrease in our budget, what’s being delivered is even better than what we had before.”
Coun Ray Nowak suggested to the meeting that Portland Town Council could play a bigger role in providing services.
He said: “It might be in our wider benefit if we had a small working group of borough and town councillors to discuss if and how we could move some services across to the town council.
“The pay-off is that we could then – if the model works – demonstrate to the residents of Weymouth that it might be beneficial for them to have a town council.”
Coun Christine James told the committee she would like to see ‘more for our money’ from Weymouth BID in light of the savings that need to be made.
Weymouth and Portland Borough Council currently pays a levy of £19,673.
Coun James said: “We are contributing a large sum of money for which we are not getting much other than glossy brochures setting out their aims.”
Coun Chapman said the BID is ‘important to the town centre’.
Councillors voted in favour of the proposals, which will be put out to consultation before being discussed at a full council meeting next year.
Coun Chapman added: “I have a lot of confidence we will be able to get there because of the excellent work that has gone on so far.
THE report included a proposal to raise council tax by 1.9 per cent for 2014/15. More income could be generated by raising fees at Weymouth Crematorium by 10 per cent. Areas where the council is looking to make savings include mayoral services, festivals and events and parks and open spaces.
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