On Tuesday the Liberal Democrat Council Executive agreed its budget proposals for 2010/11. The budget is designed to help prepare York for the economic recovery, while ensuring investment in vital services such as adult and children’s social care.
In preparing our budget we were also very keen to ensure we responded to the city wide budget consultation which went out in December.
Some of the budget highlights include:
Transport: To help boost the city centre economy, car parking charges will be frozen as will Park and Ride charges. Everyone except the owners of the most polluting vehicles will see ResPark charges frozen while charges for visitors to ResPark areas will be cut from £1.10 to 90p.
There will be more congestion busting improvements to the outer ring road. Following the completion of improvements to the Hopgrove roundabout there will be improvements to the A19 and A59 roundabouts.
Highway Maintenance: Recent bad weather has played havoc with road surfaces across the city. The Liberal Democrats will invest an extra £1m in highway maintenance, ensuring the condition of even more roads can be improved.
Taking Care of Our Elderly Population: As York’s elderly population increases, more people need to access adult social care services from the Council. The Liberal Democrats will invest almost £1m extra in adult social care next year to cope with this demand.
Increasingly elderly people are telling us they want to stay in their own homes as long as possible. For this reason we will be changing the focus of our adult social care spending to focus more on helping people stay in their own homes. We will be investing £450,000 in Telecare technology which helps to keep people independent in their own homes, while also making sure they get the care they need.
Looking After Vulnerable Children And Improving Schools: Across the nation there has been an increase in the number of children in care. City of York council has responded to this by promoting Fostering, and it is to the credit of the city that families are coming forward to provide homes for vulnerable children. The Liberal Democrats are putting an extra £1.5m into the children’s social care budget to ensure these children get the care they need.
The Capital Programme for 2010/11 will include £5.4 million towards the replacement of Rawcliffe and Clifton Without Primary Federation of Schools with a new building on the Rawcliffe site which will continue the council’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions with the inclusion of wood pellet (biomass) fuelled boilers. There will also be a new school on Hamilton Drive to replace the existing English Martyr’s, and Our Lady’s Schools.
Cutting Carbon: City of York Council has signed up to the 10:10 commitment as well as having it’s own target for a 25% cut in CO2 emissions by 2013. To meet those commitments we will invest £250,000 in improving the energy efficiency of street lighting in the city.
We will also be continuing the £100,000 home insulation programme that we began last year.
Recycling Rollout: The successful kerbside recycling scheme will be rolled out to the rest of the city and will also see improvements with the introduction of a new three box system which will make sorting recycling easier and will save the council money.
All this will be done while keeping Council Tax low. York had the lowest charge for Council Services in Yorkshire in 2009/10. The proposed Council Tax rise of 2.7%, the lowest in the history of City of York Council, will see York continue to deliver top quality services while maintaining low Council Tax.
The proposals will now be put before a full meeting of the Council on 25th February.