East Lindsey District councillors have been told they face a series of difficult choices in their on-going battle to balance the books and protect frontline services.
Councillors are due to vote on the district budget for the coming financial year at a meeting next month.
Any decision will have important ramifications for council tax payers throughout the ELDC area.
Councillors are determined to keep any rise in precepts to a minimum, despite substantial cuts in central Government funding.
They are also pledging to maintain vital frontline services, where possible.
Coun Philip Sturman, chairman of ELDC’s financial future proofing panel, warned the authority faced some difficult decisions this year - and in future.
Speaking at a full meeting of ELDC last week, he indicated the decision to increase parking charges was a sign of the times and was just one of a host of tough choices facing councillors.
He also called on councillors to undergo training designed to give them a better understanding of complex financial and economic matters.
Coun Sturman said: “Members need a better understanding because there are difficult decisions to be made and these are likely to be controversial with the electorate.”
Councillors acknowledged the prospect of continuing reductions in central Government funding - combined with welfare reforms - meant the district’s already fragile economy would come under even more pressure.
Horncastle councillor and Town Mayor Fiona Martin supported the call for members to have better training and said it was vital they understood all the relevant information.
ELDC leader Doreen Stephenson said: “It is most important that all members are fully aware of the financial state that we are likely to be in and how we are able to maintain frontline services.
“It is also crucial that we can contribute to the economic development of the area and it is vital that we continue to support the visitor economy to ensure that we have the level of jobs we have.”
Coningsby councillor Ray Curtis said he hoped ELDC would not ignore agricultural communities.
He claimed it was an ‘absolute disgrace’ to suggest agriculture was not as important as tourism and called on ELDC to ensure any cuts in budgets did not just favour coastal communities.
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Weather for Horncastle
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 9 C
Wind Speed: 26 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 5 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 31 mph
Wind direction: North