Residents, businesses and community groups can have their say on Nottinghamshire County Council’s 2013/14 budget from 5th November.
The Budget Conversation will run for 12 weeks, with the views of all those taking part being considered ahead of the County Council’s final budget proposals being debated at the Full Council meeting on 28th February next year.
The consultation is in two parts. From 5th November people will be able to respond to a series of general questions about County Council services and say which they value the most. Then, the draft budget proposals will be available to view and comment on from 12th November, following the County Council’s Finance and Property Committee meeting.
Residents will be able to give their feedback in a number of ways, including using comment cards available in libraries across the county, by telephone to 0300 500 80 80, online at www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/budget or by freepost.
A budget simulator on the County Council’s website will give people the opportunity to create their own budget. The simulator allows users to increase or decrease spending in different service areas, explaining potential consequences of their decisions.
Full details about the budget proposals and how to comment will also be published in the next edition of the County Council’s newspaper, County News which will be delivered to all households in Nottinghamshire from 26th November.
And community groups and schools will be able to download a discussion toolkit from the website which they can use to collate views of members and pupils.
Having your say does make a difference. Last year’s budget consultation attracted comments from over 4,000 people and influenced changes to a number of the initial budget proposals, including the final decisions to:
Extend opening hours for 15 libraries across the county
Freeze charges for Blue Badge applications at £2
Freeze charges for meals on wheels at £3.95
Provide an additional £50,000 in grant aid to support the voluntary sector
Coun Reg Adair, chairman of the Finance and Property Committee at Nottinghamshire County Council said: “The County Council will spend in the region of £490m this year on providing a huge range of vital services for more than 785,000 people in Nottinghamshire.
“Like all local authorities, we continue to face a challenging financial future with reductions in the total amount of money we have to spend against a backdrop of ever increasing demand for priority service areas like care for children and older people.
“Through our transformation programme we have already made huge strides in cutting waste and making significant savings across the authority. Whilst this has put us in a good position to face the challenges of achieving a balanced budget in 2013/14, we also need to have an eye on the years to come.
“It is all the more important therefore that we use the resources we have wisely. The people of Nottinghamshire can play a vital role in helping us to do this by reading the budget proposals and letting us know their views through the Budget Conversation.”