When news happens, text CHRON and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email & phone.
Move among measures to save Test Valley Borough Council £850,000
1:07pm Thursday 17th December 2009 in News
CHARGES in the Test Valley’s short-stay car parks are set to rise by 10p per hour in the New Year as council bosses attempt to tighten the purse strings.
Test Valley Borough Council is currently looking at ways to cut expenditure by £856,000.
The Conservative-controlled council has identified savings of £717,000 for next year, with more than £100,000 of that figure raised through increased parking charges.
Advertising budgets look set to be cut, some staff privileges taken away, and a number of vacant job roles will go unfilled in order to save cash.
Councillors will have their allowances reduced by 1.4 per cent.
The package of cuts include proposals to to make a gardener, street cleaner and an enterprise centre manager redundant, as well as leaving eight vacant job roles unfilled.
A copy of the Test Valley News will not be produced, saving £20,000, and staff who had been allowed to take council vehicles home will have that privilege taken away, unless they are supervisors or management.
However, these measures will see the authority fall £139,000 short of its savings target.
Council leader, Cllr Ian Carr, said: “We haven’t increased parking charges since 2008 and this year we will aim to keep increases to short-term parking charges to a minimum, with long-term parking charges unchanged.
“It will still be cheaper to park in Test Valley than in many neighbouring areas.”
The council blamed inflation, the level of government grant, and interest received on investments, for the need for huge savings.
Cllr Carr explained: “This year has seen an unprecedented drop in the council’s income from investment activities, and all forecasts are that the low interest rates will continue well into 2010/11.”
Lib Dem councillor, Cllr Mark Cooper, said he understood the need to save money as investments made after the sale of council houses, which raised £80 million, were not seeing a huge return in income during the recession.
However, he added: “The only thing I would say in a negative sense is that if they had got the core strategy right in May this year, they would not have had to spend 18 months in officer time redrafting it.”
The council’s cabinet were dut to meet yesterday (Wednesday) to discuss the proposed budget cuts, although a formal decision will not be taken until February, 2010.