Monmouthshire set for talks over budget gap

MONMOUTHSHIRE County Council’s cabinet will hold a special meeting on Wednesday to discuss budget proposals.

They will meet at the County Hall in Usk to discuss how they can reduce a spending gap of £2.9 million in the council's four year medium term financial plan.

Among some of the council’s proposals, leisure services will look to save £134,000 next year by charging for some services, such as saunas. At the moment, people who use saunas can use them for free when they use swimming pools.

They also plan to introduce direct debits for people who use the council's leisure centres.

But they plan to save £40,000 by reducing cleaning costs and introducing volunteers at the centres.

It is also proposed that by 2015/16 62 per cent of the council's municipal waste will be recycled and composted. Over 2012/13, the council has so far recycled 56 per cent of their waste – four per cent more than the Welsh Government’s target.

But they also hope capacity for renewable energy will increase considerably – from 425kW this year to 1,000 kW in 2015/16.

If proposals go ahead, there would also be reductions in the funding for the cultural and tourism services in Monmouthshire.

Over 2014/15, the council plans to reduce that department's budget by £175,000, then by £94,000 in 2015/16 and by £65,000 in 2016/17.

There will be public consultation meetings held across Monmouthshire to discuss the budget proposals next year.

The first will be at Caldicot School on Thursday, January 9 and the second at Chepstow School on Tuesday, January 14. There will be one on Wednesday, January 15 at Abergavenny leisure centre hall and at Abergavenny Market Hall on Saturday, January 18.

Dates at Usk Memorial Hall on Tuesday, January 7, Thursday, December 16 and Wednesday, January 22 are yet to be confirmed.

The provisional date of Monday, January 20 has been set for a meeting at Monmouth School, although that is also waiting confirmation.

The cabinet will also meet to talk about the Outcome Agreement between the Council and the Welsh Government that will see the council allocated £800,000 of grant funding every year until 2016.

The money will be used by the council to improve attainment, reduce inequality and minimise the impact of climate change.

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