Consultation on draft budgets submitted by the Council’s political groups has started.
Proposals are on the Council’s website www.dumgal.gov.uk/budget and there is a survey that the public is invited to complete online or by visiting a Council library or customer service centre.
Groups on the Council had until the meeting of full Council (18 December 2014) to release their draft budgets. Only the Administration submitted a draft budget.
The Administation’s budget proposal includes a £3.5m-a-year Youth Guarantee that every young person in Dumfries and Galloway will be guaranteed a place in education, or training or a job within 4 months of leaving school or becoming unemployed.
Capital spending commitments include increased funding for school buildings, new flood protection schemes, and regeneration projects.
The draft budget also sets up how £32m of savings will be achieved over the next 3 years.
The budget challenges that the Council faces aren’t easy to tackle and it will be necessary to find different ways of delivering some services and even stop delivering some.
To help the Council make tough decisions and to make the right decisions, it needs you to have your say.
In November, more than 500 people took part in the Council’s pre-budget oniline survey and ‘Speak to the Leader’ sessions on Facebook and Twitter.
Between now and the final budget being agreed on 5 February 2015, the Council really wants to hear your views.
As well as viewing the budget proposals and completing the survey online, members of the public are invited to take part in community meetings to discuss budget proposals:
Dalbeattie Town Hall - Monday 12 January 2015, 7pm
Ryan Leisure Centre, Stranraer - Thursday 15 January 2015, 7pm
Dumfries Academy - Tuesday 20 January 2015, 6.30pm
Annan Town Hall - Wednesday 21 January 2015, 6.30pm
Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Ronnie Nicholson, said,” All groups had the opportunity to table draft budgets, although only the Administration chose to do so. Our proposals will, therefore, now be subject to public consultation and scrutiny by Councillors at Service committees. I would stress they are very much draft plans for discussion. My challenge to all councillors, Council staff and the public is to take part in that discuss either online, through your local library, or at public meetings. Since becoming Leader I have made it clear that I’m committed to leading an inclusive Council. That means listening before decisions are made.
“Prior to publishing the draft budget we’ve already had feedback from hundreds of local people through our Council’s budget survey and my Facebook and Twitter ‘Speak to the Leader’ sessions. We’ve also had dozens of suggestions from members of staff on ways that the Council can save money. I have been very heartened by the positive response to the Council’s priorities, in particular, building the economy. That’s why I believe that our ambitious plan to invest £3.5 a year to deliver a Youth Guarantee for DG is so important to meet our commitment to drive down youth unemployment in the region.”