It’s anticipated that the council will have to find more than £20 million of savings over this three year period and almost £10 million of identified savings have been agreed so far.
Councillors are now seeking community views on a number of additional savings proposals, which could generate further savings of up to £1.6 million – subject to whether the proposals are implemented or not.
Amongst the proposals are cuts to the care for the elderly and education budgets.
Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council, said: “The council delivers a wide variety of high-quality services across South Ayrshire, but we need to make some changes to ensure we deliver services in the right way, and within the available budget.
“That involves some really tough choices as we work to get the most for our money and deliver services that really make a difference for our people and communities. That’s why we want people to submit their views on these proposals before we make any final decisions.
“And we really want them to think about the potential impact of these proposals and give us an honest assessment of how they – and their communities – could be affected. We all have to be realistic, in the current environment, that we can’t just keep doing things as we always have.
“There is no doubt that some things will have to change and by putting forward your views, you can help influence what some of these changes are – or not, as the case may be. I would encourage as many people as possible to take part.”
The savings proposals the council is seeking community views on are:
· Ensure people get most appropriate care by balancing use of nursing and residential care to reflect support required: £600,000 saving
· Review support available to older people for unscheduled care – the care that we don’t yet know that people will need – to make best use of resources, put measures in place to reduce likelihood of hospital admissions and improve outcomes: £500,000 saving
· Reduce centrally-held Curriculum for Excellence and Determined to Succeed budgets, which support purchase of relevant materials for the new courses that have been developed: £150,000 saving
· Increase bereavement charges for burial and cremation: £82,000 saving; Burial (including lair purchase): £1,226 (current), £1,348 (proposed 2016/17), £1,388 (proposed 2017/18) Cremation: £635 (current), £743 (proposed 2016/17), £773 (proposed 2017/18)
· Reduce school-based Curriculum for Excellence budget, which supports the purchase of relevant materials for the new courses that have been developed: £60,000 saving
· Reduce programme of primary school swimming lessons to reflect more targeted approach: £40,000 saving
· Reduce Scheme of Assistance budget for improvement works in mixed tenure blocks (where both Council tenants and private owner-occupiers live), by making less grants available to private owners: £30,000 saving
· Increase swimming lesson fee (£3.60 to proposed £5.33 per lesson) to reflect a modernised and enhanced programme with reduced class sizes, lower waiting lists, and extra classes, which supports progression through different swimming levels, includes badges and certificates and unlimited free swimming throughout the programme for those taking swimming lessons (would also include a direct debit payment option): £30,000 saving
· Increase sharing of Head Teachers in small schools: £25,000 saving
· Remove school transport provision from Maybole Road, Ayr to Alloway Primary (which is outwith the Council criteria for free school transport), bringing it in line with all other schools: £25,000 saving
· Review the Anti-Social Behaviour Team: £20,000 saving
· Introduce proposed charges of between £10-£50 for pre-application planning advice to reflect level of support required such as letter, meeting or site visit: £20,000 saving
· Introduce small charge for administering school funds for excursions, events and fundraising activities: £20,000 saving
Councillor McIntosh concluded: “This is a genuine opportunity for local people to influence the budget decision-making process and I hope it’s an opportunity they take.”
You can find out more about Balancing the Budget 2016/17-2018/19 and submit your views on the savings proposals at www.south-ayrshire.gov.uk.
All views must be submitted by Friday 30 October 2015.