Parking fees and council tax to change as Wakefield Council faces £22.2m budget shortfall
Changes to bin rounds and the introduction of Sunday parking charges are among suggested strategies as Wakefield Council deals with a £22.2m budget shortfall.
A council tax increase of 3.99 per cent has also been suggested as the local authority tackle the financial gap, which it says has been caused by an increase in demand for council services, rising costs, and further Government cuts.
In the 2019/20 budget report, which was published this week, Wakefield Council laid out plans to raise more than £11m of extra income through economic and housing growth, as well as savings of £5.6m through the restructuring of council services.
See also: Wakefield Council’s big decision whether to raise council tax to bring empty homes back into use Councillor Peter Box, leader of Wakefield Council, said: “We always put residents, communities and the local economy at the heart of every decision we make.
“However, we cannot underestimate the tough choices we face when dealing with a £22.2million budget challenge, especially at a time when the demand for services that support vulnerable children and adults in our communities, continues to rise at a significant rate.
“In spite of the challenges, the ambition that is driving this council means we are dedicated and focused on making this district a great place for people to live, work and visit.”
An increase in the self-sustainability of The Hepworth Wakefield is expected to save £120,000 and the introduction of Sunday parking charges at Newmillerdam Country Park is expected to generate as much as £70,000 in extra income.
The redesign of waste collection rounds is expected to save £40,000, though the council said that the frequency of collections would remain the same for all residents.
Coun Box said that he understands a budget will never please everyone, but argued the proposal was a fair compromise on all levels.
He said: “There is a black hole in local government funding that has to be met.
“We don’t have enough money to do everything we know needs doing in the district, but we’ll persist and do what we can.
“We’ve tried to make sure that those really essential services are maintained as well as possible, but we’ve also tried to listen to the budget consultation.
“We’ve all got different needs from the local authority, so it’s trying to make sense of those different needs to make a budget for everyone.”
The proposals will be discussed at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, February 12, and is expected to be debated by the full council later this month.
To view the report in full, visit the Wakefield Council website.