March 3, 2021

Ceredigion News Online

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Budget and savings considered in council thriving communities meeting

SIGNIFICANT savings will be made by reducing funding for the flexible, bookable cross county buses but the service will stay the same, a cabinet member assured.

A £32,000 reduction in Bwcabws funding is identified as a saving in the highways and environmental service budget and concerns were raised about its impact at Friday’s (February 19) thriving communities overview and scrutiny committee.

The committee was discussing the budgets of this service and the economy and regeneration service’s £34,000 savings target which will be met by “vacancy drag and some restructuring.”

Cabinet member for highways Cllr Dafydd Edwards said it was “good timing” that Ceredigion County Council’s contribution to the community bus service was lower this year, reducing from £105,000 to £73,000.

Cllrs Gareth Davies, Lyndon Lloyd and Euros Davies all raised concerns about the impact on the service, which they said was relied upon by many elderly people in their wards.

Cllr Edwards replied “at the moment there’s no affect whatsoever on the service” but agreed that future contributions would change as the funding for the scheme has now been lost due to Brexit.

To meet its budget savings target cost reductions of £166,000 around £66,000 is set to be raised by increasing fees and charges in the highways and environmental service – including car parking charges – at Ceredigion County Council.

The service has a £17.062million budget with cost pressures of £684,000 that require funding, a report states including pay awards, asset management software and an increase in material recycling process costs.

Costs related to building regulations will be increased, linked to inflation, as well as allotment charges, while others such as venue hire will remain the same.

Cllr Elizabeth Evans raised the possibility of hiring rooms at Penmorfa, Aberaeron, including for ad-hoc use by home workers, with cabinet member for the economy Cllr Rhodri Evans saying the way of increasing income and how the whole authority works is an important piece of work over then next six months.

Car parking charges will be increased by “three per cent across the board” rises will range by 10p to 50p depending on the type of car park, ticket and vehicle with larger increases on season tickets.

Cllr Evans put forward an amendment on car parking, asking for a decrease in short stay charges at Regent Street car park, Aberaeron, from the proposed £2 to £1.60 and balance the loss of income by increasing day charges from the proposed £3.10 to £3.50.

It was approved by the committee and it was agreed that a review of all car parks and their use, as well as by overnight camper vans, was required.

Burial costs will also be increased by as much as £30 along with proposed increases to harbour garage and shed charges, mooring fees, highways register and street works.

The committee approved the budget recommendations, including a 3.5 per cent council tax rise.

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