THE public are being given a big say in deciding this year’s Council Tax.
For the first time ever, residents are being asked to let the council know what they think council cash should be spent on next year – and to also suggest ways money could be saved.
And their views will be presented to councillors when they meet in the new year to set the council tax, and help them decide how much is spent on key services such as schools, roads, looking after the elderly and keeping the city clean.
City council leader Warren Bradley said: “Liverpool, like many councils, is facing some tough choices this year. Because of the credit crunch, more people are in need of the vital services we provide, and we are getting less money from the government to pay for them.
“We have already saved more than £44 million in the past three years, but we still need to make more savings to keep the council tax rise to below five per next year.
“That is why the views of the city’s residents are so important. What does the public want its council tax spent on? What do they think are the most important services we provide? And we want to know where they think the council spends too much money - and suggestions where we can further cut back on waste.”
“These views will help us decide what services should be a priority next year and also help decide on the level of council tax.”
More than 22,000 survey forms – Your council, Your Money, Your Say – have been distributed to every library and one stop shop in the city.
Residents are asked to choose their top three priorities from a list of services ranging from libraries and parks to spending on children and older people.
And they can also submit ideas on improving council services and ways of saving money.
Councillor Flo Clucas, executive member for finance, said: “We have made great progress in making big efficiency savings and at the same time really improving services. But as councillors, it’s our job to listen carefully to local people so that the services we provide are the services they want. Money is very tight, so it’s more important than ever to take on board what the public say. It’s their money.
“And this isn’t just a paper exercise. Local opinion really does matter and will have a direct impact on setting our spending priorities for next year and the level of the council tax.”
Everyone who completes the survey will be entered into a prize draw with the chance to win a handy £100 worth of gift vouchers.
The consultation starts on Monday 24 November and completed survey forms must be returned by Friday 12 December
The survey form can also completed online at www.liverpool.gov.uk/budgetconsultation