Fareham Borough Council is giving residents the chance to have their say on how it pays for vital public services in the light of reduced government funding and the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The pandemic has put severe pressure on the Council’s finances - incurring around £260,000 of additional expenditure while income has fallen by approximately £1.6m. The Council may have to plug the funding gap by drawing on £1.2m from its reserves, which amounts to a quarter of its savings.
During the pandemic so far the Council has issued 2,000 grants totaling more than £20.4m support to local businesses, provided storage and distribution locations for food banks, issued financial rescue packages to leisure centres, and made pitches at Fareham Market free to encourage traders to return.
In addition, the Council has already put a number of measures in place to either make savings or generate more income, but is now seeking the views of residents on how else it could generate the money to pay for services.
A survey, asking questions about potential ideas for cost saving and income generation in a wide range of council services has been created. This is a chance for residents to tell us what their priorities are for Fareham’s future, and about the services they value the most.
While it is not possible to have the usual Community Action Team (CAT) meetings with residents, a virtual exhibition has been created and is available on the Council’s website where residents can find out more about the financial situation facing the Council and complete the survey. The exhibition can be found at www.fareham.gov.uk/have_your_say/balancingthebooks
If you do not have access to the internet to view the exhibition, then we can send you a paper version of the survey for you to complete.
The consultation runs from January 22 to February 19.
Executive Leader of Fareham Borough Council, Cllr Seán Woodward, said: “Like other Councils, Fareham is facing a very challenging financial position. Additional costs and loss of income were incurred as a result of the pandemic alongside increasing demand for services.
“This consultation is an opportunity for residents to comment on the council’s priorities, its council tax and its proposals to improve services and increase efficiency. This feedback will help the Council make decisions about services and resources going forward.”
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