Ideas plea as Monmouthshire looks to save
6:34am Friday 18th October 2013 in News
MORE than 120 residents gathered in Caldicot to give their money-saving ideas to Monmouthshire Council in the wake of unprecedented cuts, as the council searched for a new team to work along with them.
Monmouthshire Council has to cut £23m from its budget in the next 36 months. This equates to a loss in spending power of around 20 per cent. The council is looking to save the first £9m in 2013/14.
The meeting, held at Dewstow Primary School on Wednesday, was the second in a series of community engagement evenings held across the countyl.
Issues were raised on whether or not the council could continue to offer home-to-school transport for pupils, or if adult education should be merged with Coleg Gwent. Residents also questioned why Caldicot Castle, which costs the council £225,000 each year, isn’t generating any income.
Suggestions surrounding energy use, Welsh-language correspondence, recycling and food waste were all put to the council, who will now consider them.
Peter Fox, leader of the council, said: “We are up against one of the biggest challenges we have ever seen.”
Council leaders assured the public they were seeking alternatives to simply shutting down services.
Paul Matthews, chief executive at the council, said: “The council don’t want to respond to that challenge the way that other councils would.”
Cllr Phil Hobson, deputy leader, said: “The easy street is to ignore the future, but we decided not to do that.”
Andy Middleton, adviser and board member at Natural Resources Wales, introduced the council’s latest plan, Team Monmouthshire, to better utilise the skills of the county’s residents.
He, with the council, is looking for 1 per cent of the countywho have passion, skills and ideas to bring to the table, to form Team Monmouthshire and work alongside the council.
He said: “There are some huge opportunities here to be smarter.”
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