A Council report has pointed to a possible £3 million overspend on its budget this year.
The main area of concern is a potential over spend on the direct provision of care packages to vulnerable residents.
These include Non Residential Care Packages (£649k), Emergency Placements (£92k) and Short Term Breaks (£116k).
The Council intends to throw the whole of its budget contingency (£600,000) into this service area but is showing little sign so far of being able to recover from the financial breakdown revealed by auditors earlier in the year.
There is also a continued shortfall from parking income of £400,000.
As the published figures cover the period up to the end of June, they do not include the impact of current parking initiatives, including the charges for Minster Badges, the free parking introduced in late June and pay-on-exit at Marygate.
All of these are now expected to further reduce car parking income
Council Tax would be frozen and £3million of service cuts would be reversed under budget plans revealed by York’s Liberal Democrat Group.
The proposals, which will be tabled at City of York Council’s budget meeting on Thursday, would see a new £500,000 community fund created for residents to spend locally plus extra investment to boost recycling and tackle climate change.
LibDem budget plan would eliminate poor road surfaces in York
The Lib Dem plans would see the controversial £3.3million ‘Reinvigorate York’ scheme – which funded the unpopular King’s Square revamp – cancelled and a reduction in funding on a new multi-million pound council IT project. Labour’s new £70,000-a-year ‘Head of Transformation’ would also face the axe and the number of Cabinet Members would be reduced.
Main Points of the Lib Dem amendment:
- Accept the government’s grant to freeze council tax for all households in York.
- Reverse £3million of Labour’s cuts to areas including community centres, youth services, children’s centres, social care, support to carers, grants to voluntary groups, litter and salt bins, road gully cleaning and road repairs.
- Keep the ‘Minster Badge’ discounted parking scheme for residents which Labour plan to scrap.
- Set-up a new £500,000 community fund for residents to spend on local priorities under a revamped Ward Committee system.
- Cut borrowing for schemes such as ‘Reinvigorate York’, Labour’s new 5-year £6.1million IT project, and the proposed ‘Digital and Media Hub’.
- Make savings by scrapping Labour’s ‘Delivery and Innovation Fund’ and ‘Economic Infrastructure Fund’, reducing Cabinet Members by two, and removing the Assistant Director of Transformation and Change post.
- Extra investment to boost recycling by reviewing facilities at Towthorpe and in the west of York, introduce a new scheme to cut overall council carbon emissions over the next 10 years, and reinstate winter green bin collections.
- Reduce cuts to youth and children’s services in 2014/15 and restate a commitment to stop Labour’s plans to close children’s centres after 2015.
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The York Councils debt is set to increase to over £300 million by 2018.
That’s the equivalent of £2,530 for every taxpayer in the City.
The amount owed by the Council, net of investments, currently stands at £204 million.
Even that figure is double the debt inherited from the previous LibDem administration in May 2011.
Ironically, when in opposition, Labour said that the Council had too much debt.
Their actions in tripling the burden will take some explaining at the next Council elections in 2015.
The Authority is vulnerable to increases in interest rates although much of the borrowing is long term.
This year the extra expenditure means that £27 is added to this years Council Tax bill in repayment costs with a further £14 expected next year.
The figures are due to be discussed at a Council “Cabinet” meeting later today.
The Council has published a list of the outstanding amounts owed to it in each of the last 3 years.
The size of the debt shows an upward trend which could lead to cash flow problems if not reversed.
Although many of the debts will eventually be recovered, some will not.
There have been significant increases in the amounts owed on business rates, former tenant arrears and sundry debts.
In total the amounts owed have increased from £12 million to £16 million over a 3 year period.