COLUMN: Budget was a challenge, by Mansfield Mayor Kate Allsop

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I am very happy to let you know that we have a balanced budget, which went through the latest full council meeting.

I have managed to keep my promise of zero percentage council tax rise on the Mansfield District Council side of the council tax.

However, this year’s budget has been one of the most difficult in recent years, due to the vast cuts from government to local authorities.

We have risen to the challenge of becoming much more self-sufficient, by using the services we have to generate additional income.

My vision is for us to be like any other commercial business and stand on our own two feet.

There are many difficult decisions ahead and as we will be looking at all current commitments on statutory and none statutory services, we will do our best to ensure that there will be minimal effect to front-line services.

We have highly innovative financial investments, which have won national acclaim. We intend to continue our policy of giving the residents of the district the best possible value for money. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my portfolio for resources Councillor Roger Sutcliffe and the senior management team at Mansfield District Council for their continued hard work and support.

I would also like to say a little bit about my decision to have a Freedom Event to celebrate Oliver, Charlotte and Glenn’s success at the Rio Paralympics Games, 2016.

There will always be critics of whether this event should have taken place or not but I do not regret my decision to recognise these tremendous athletes.

We do have a civic budget like every authority in the country for special events such as this one. We wanted to show them how proud we are of them, to show our appreciation for all their years of training and sacrifice, to stand on the podium and represent us on a national platform.

The kudos that this good publicity brings to the district is invaluable and I believe that it is right to recognise it. Councillors of all parties attended the evening, along with senior officers, Rotary and the Armchair Club members both organisations had supported our athletes over the years, the guest list was then handed to Ollie, Charlotte and Glenn to invite their family, friends, coaches and supporters throughout the years who have helped them achieve their dreams.