AMBITIOUS plans have been laid out by Gainsborough Town Council after cutting their annual precept by £16,762.
The first full-council meeting of 2012 saw the body agree on a precept requirement for the forthcoming year at £417,830.
That’s a reduction of more than 3.8 per cent from last year’s budget £434,592. The budget includes plans to attract visitors to Gainsborough with a better Christmas market, as well as providing more street furniture.
This will be paid for by cutting costs on things like payroll, ground maintenance and Christmas lights.
Councillors say that the cuts would bring greater value for money for Gainsborough’s tax payers - by increasing expenditure on items that will benefit local people while continuing to maintain, and hopefully improve, standards.
“We are committed to ensuring this council provide value for money quality services to the people of Gainsborough,” said local Lib Dem leader Coun Trevor Young.
“With this objective in mind we want to develop the good services the council already provides but at the same time explore how the council in partnership with groups in our community can provide a wider range of services while being cost effective - so we aim to provide more for less.”
Coun Young added: “We have to plan ahead.”
“This budget is the first step towards future budgetary planning which will enable us to develop strategies that look forward.”
Other features of the budget approved by the full council for 2012/13 include £10,000 to enable councillors to work more closely with the people in their wards to identify specific needs for the money to be used, £5,000 to develop the Christmas market and attract shoppers and visitors from further afield to a market held a week before the Lincoln Christmas market, doubling the budget for street furniture (mainly for seats and bus shelters), and increasing the play area maintenance budget by 50 per cent.
The council also say that they will continue to support community organisations by through an annual grant scheme, so that organisations can plan ahead in bidding. They also say that they will continue to fund the Riverside Festival, but will forge a new and accountable relationship with the organisers.
To cover the costs of these improved services to taxpayers, the council plan to reduce the funding of the mayor’s costs by £1,000 in his new receipted allowance, reducing civic costs by £1,000 and reviewing civic functions, and cutting the cost of our Christmas lights by £5,000 through competitive tendering.
There will also be significant reductions in the operating costs of Richmond Park and Marshalls and Roses recreation ground, by delivering sporting facilities by working in co-operation with external partners.
The council say they will support the Town Centre Partnership, but require guarantees that they will work towards fewer empty shops, an improved market, more town centre events and better publicity before they commit any tax-payers’ money.
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