Saturday, 10 January 2009

Public Consultation and the Council Budget.

At a recent meeting of the Council's Finance and Performance Scrutiny Committee members received and recommended a report on the 2009/10 budget, without complicating matters it is sufficient to say that we will be able to provide a balanced budget without cutting services for an increase in council tax of 3%...this however is not finalised yet, it can only be agreed by Full Council meeting next month. The Council did consult publicly on the budget by including a consultation questionairre in the last edition of Connect which was delivered to all 55,000 homes in the County Borough but it was disappointing to learn that only 100 questionairres had been returned...and this on such an important issues. It doesn't seem to matter how hard the Council tries to get the public to contribute to the debate on how their money should be spent and other important issues, there seems to be a great deal of indifference and reluctance to engage. I believe there is both a role for elected members and political parties here to encourage their electors/supporters to engage in these consultation exercises. Hopefully next Monday's worshop on Communications might provide us with some ideas on how we as elected members can engage more effectively with those that we represent. Feel free to make suggestions........

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