Cheshire East Council is inviting views from residents, businesses, councillors, staff, town and parish councils and local community groups on how it can balance its budget for 2024 to 2025, including looking at the proposals the council is putting forward this year to help achieve that.
As part of its financial plans for 2024/25 Cheshire East Council is proposing to increase Council Tax by 4.99%, the maximum amount currently allowed from April 2024.
In addition, the council has put forward 29 proposals as part of this consultation, which could help the council to reduce its financial pressures for 2024/25.
The largest savings of £5.6 million are proposed in adult social care and £5.2m in child social care.
A total of £4.8 million of savings have been forward in corporate service. Proposals include: temporarily leaving senior leadership posts vacant, reviewing executive support for senior staff, reducing the amount of money spent on emergency help for vulnerable people by closing the Emergency Assistance scheme, charging Parishes for all Parish related election costs, eliminating the use of agency staff and reducing overtime.
Proposals to save £4 million from services overseen by the Environment and Communities Committee include: getting Town and Parish Councils to contribute towards the cost of running libraries and closing the three household waste sites at Bollington, Middlewich and Poynton - leaving just four sites at Alsager, Crewe, Knutsford and Macclesfield.
The Council is also proposing to Increase the new garden waste charge for 2025 collections from £56 to £59.
Whilst in order to save £0.9 million in highways and transport, the council is proposing to introduce an annual increase in car parking charges and revise its maintenance practices in winter service, grass cutting, gully emptying and weed treatment, along with repairs to carriageways, footways and highway structures.
Councillor Sam Corcoran, leader of Cheshire East Council said: "No one comes into public service to significantly cut the services that local residents rely on, but we must be realistic and make responsible decisions about prioritising our spend with limited resources.
"We must put supporting the people who need our help the most, ahead of many other things we would like to do - and that many people want us to do - including further investment in road maintenance, local recycling centres, libraries and leisure services.
"Cheshire East Council is far from alone in this. Councils across the country are making severe cuts to services and making clear to government that the current financial position is not sustainable."
Councillor Craig Browne, deputy leader of the council added, "It is so important for everyone to have their say. If you have never commented in a council consultation before, now is the time to do so. A number of these proposals will affect everyone – either directly or indirectly - and some of these changes are significant. We need to know how they might affect you and the people you care about.
"We, your local councillors, are going to have to make difficult decisions to enable us to balance our budget. However, these budget pressures do force us to look at doing things differently and identify opportunities for improvement and efficiencies.
"It is deeply concerning how challenging the year ahead will be for all local authorities, including Cheshire East."
To have your say on the proposals complete the online consultation by January 28th. Paper copies will also be available at local libraries.
Following publication of the draft financial strategy, the council’s service committees will consider the budget proposals at public meetings in January and February.
The decision to approve and adopt the budget will be taken at a full council meeting on 27th February.