Questionnaires will be dropping on to the doormats of 2000 residents throughout St Edmundsbury this week asking people to help the borough council save £3.5 million through changing services or raising more income. And all residents in the borough can take part through the online consultation at: www.stedmundsbury.gov.uk
Cllr John Griffiths, St Edmundsbury Borough Council Leader, said: “We will have £3.5 million less to spend over the next couple of years so there are some very tough decisions to be made. We are consulting on a number of ideas before – not after – any decisions are made and and I stress that these are only ideas for possible consideration in the future. This is your money we are talking about, whether it comes from taxes paid to Government or through Council Tax, so I encourage anyone who lives in the borough to let us know your views, and your own ideas, through the online consultation. You will be helping councillors to decide how we can deal with our £3.5 million budget gap.”
The consultation asks some very specific questions, usually with indications of the potential money saved, or new income generated (such as raising £20,000 through charging to use the Abbey Gardens toilets, for example, or saving £50,000 by moving the Tourist Information Centre to Moyse’s Hall Museum). It doesn’t cover every council service, because savings may already have been made, or because the timing is wrong. The apex is an example – it was scheduled to be looked at two years after it opened, so will be reviewed in late 2012. The consultation closing date is 4 October and the council will take consultation responses into account during the autumn budget-setting process, with the final budget set in February 2012.
If people do not have internet access at home they can complete the online consultation at libraries, the Lower Downs Slade council offices in Haverhill, or at West Suffolk House or Tourist Information centre in Bury St Edmunds. Replies can be anonymous, but if people give their contact details they will be entered in a draw with three prizes of £50.