We launched a 6-week consultation at the beginning of November to gather residents’ views before we make any final decisions about where we'll spend our budget for 2019 to 2020 in the new year.
Residents have been keen to take the opportunity to give their views via an online survey and those that haven’t yet taken part have until Sunday 16 December 2018 when the consultation closes.The consultation is made up of 5 main questions, with the first 2 asking residents to indicate what they think should be our top 3 and bottom 3 priorities from a provided list.
There is also a section on the form where residents can tell us if there are other priorities that are not listed, that they think we should spend money on.
Derbyshire County Council Leader Councillor Barry Lewis said:
"We've had an excellent response so far to this year's budget consultation and there's still plenty of time for Derbyshire residents to have their say.
"Thanks to social media we're able to reach more people and we're getting a wide range of views and comments which we welcome and encourage.
"Pressures on our budget are well-known and we need to continue to make bold decisions, ensure we spend every pound wisely and put value for money at the heart of everything we do.
"The proposed council tax rise will fund essential services and help us to plan for the future, which includes a council tax freeze in 2020 to 2021 for 2 years.
"It's really important to us that we hear the views of Derbyshire residents before we make any final decisions on how the budget is spent next year, so we hope people who haven't taken part in the consultation yet do so before the deadline of Sunday 16 December."
As well as asking residents to indicate what they think our top priorities should be, people completing the questionnaire can also give their views on a proposed council tax rise, with the option of choosing 3.99%, 4.99% or neither. If they choose neither, there is section where they can explain their reasons why.
A rise of 3.99% would consist of 2% to fund adult care services and the remaining 1.99% could be used to fund other council priorities including children’s services (costing an average council tax payer in a band B property an extra 76p per week or £40 per year).
A rise of 4.99% would consist of 2% to fund adult care services and the remaining 2.99% could be used to help fund other council priorities including children’s services (costing an average council tax payer in a band B property an extra 95p per week or £49 per year).
The proposed 2% increase to fund adult care services is in line with government guidance and is the last year of a 3 year agreement with government to increase council tax for this purpose.
Greater demands on adult social care and services for vulnerable children, reduced government grants, inflation and meeting the National Living Wage are all presenting challenges for us as we work to balance the books.
Over the next 5 years we've forecast we must make total savings of £70 million, which will take the total saved by us between 2010 to 2022 to £327 million.
The budget consultation survey is also available as a paper questionnaire in all county libraries for people who prefer to fill out a paper form or do not have access to the internet. People taking part have the chance to win a £100 gift voucher in a prize draw.
No decisions will be made on our budget until our Cabinet has considered the responses to the consultation, alongside any legal and contractual reasons why we must continue to provide particular services. We'll also be looking carefully at how any proposed savings would affect the needs of different groups of people in the community.
Firm budget proposals will be considered by Cabinet in January 2019. Further consultation will then be held and Derbyshire residents will again get the chance to have their say about some individual proposals before final decisions are made.