Report reveals council budget plans

By a County Press reporter

Friday, January 31, 2014

 

THE INTRODUCTION of foot passenger floating bridge charges, increased leisure centres fees and merging the fire service with a mainland counterpart could be on the cards as the Isle of Wight Council looks to save £28 million over the next three years.

The proposals have been outlined in a report published today (Friday), ahead of next month's full council meeting, when the budget will be set.

However, proposals for more on-street parking charges and to axe the blue badge scheme have been scrapped.

Today's report proposed a council tax freeze for the coming year, but warned that a rise of more than 2 per cent could be considered the following year, which would spark a referendum.

An Island-wide residents' parking permit that could start in April and cost £295 for a year, £150,000 to support pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programmes and help over 50s start businesses, and an investment of £340,000 a year to Visit Isle of Wight, have all been proposed.

The report suggested further savings could be through a staff reshuffle and merging of functions, as well as town and parish councils taking over services the Isle of Wight Council could no longer afford.  

Council leader Ian Stephens said: "The scale of savings we are facing has meant that this has been an extremely difficult budget to put together.

"Our priorities have been developed by going out into the community and listening to what our residents, town and parish councils, businesses and partner organisations have to say.

"Coupled with our detailed root and branch reviews of council services, this has enabled us to put forward a budget, which in very difficult financial times, makes the very best use of our resources for the benefit of the Isle of Wight."

The report is due to be considered by the council’s scrutiny panels next week, before going before cabinet on Tuesday, February 11, followed by full council for adoption on Wednesday, February 26.

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