East Lindsey District Council has revealed how it hopes to address an expected budget shortfall of at least £6m over the next four years.
The council set out its ‘transformation programme’ at a media briefing yesterday morning (December 8), which listed 41 projects intended to make savings and generate income.
The programme, which will evolve over time, includes the prospect of increasing council tax by five per cent - if the government allows a rise over the current limit.
Other projects include reviewing public toilet provision and funding support for local facilities such as markets, bowling greens and paddling pools - with town and parish councils being asked to consider taking the funding for such facilities.
The terms and conditions of employment for all ELDC staff members will be reviewed, although job losses are not proposed within the ‘transformation plan’.
ELDC leader Coun Craig Leyland said the idea of the plan was to minimise the threat to jobs but he did not rule out the possibility.
Portfolio holder for finance and property, Coun Nick Guyatt, added: “It is hoped the programme of change can be delivered without the need for compulsory redundancies.
“Where jobs do change or are no longer required, those affected will be given the opportunity to undertake any suitable alternative roles within the organisation.”
Since 2010/11, the council has already saved £4,500,000 from its operating costs following significant reductions in the government funding that is received to support local services.
The further £6,000,000 is in addition to the savings already made.
Since 2011, the council’s net revenue budget of £22,683,000 to provide services has been reduced to £18,242,000, and it is expected to fall to £12,000,000 in the next four years.
Coun Leyland said: “In October when we announced the scale of the challenge ahead for this council we knew that some very tough decisions would need to be made in order to balance the books.
“This council needs to save money and increase the income it generates – there is no getting away from that fact.
“Failure to do so will mean the council will not be able to set a balanced budget, which it is required to do so by law.
“The council continues to review all the services it provides on an ongoing basis in order to identify opportunities to be more effective and efficient. However, that approach alone is no longer enough.
“The programme of change will affect all areas over the next few years with a very clear goal - to rely as little as possible on government funding to provide services to the people of East Lindsey.
“Only by taking this approach will this council have complete control of its own destiny.
“A number of the projects require consultation, and detailed consideration through the budget setting process.
Coun Guyett added: “First and foremost, the council must focus on delivering its core services.”
– those services the Council has a legal responsibility to provide.
“In addition the Council will continue support the most vulnerable people living in East Lindsey.
“A further priority for the Council will be to have a clear focus on helping to improve the economy of the area by helping businesses to grow and prosper and
create more jobs.”