Bin collections may be cut in budget talks
ONCE-a-week rubbish collections may be scrapped under Budget plans being discussed. Members of North Herts District Council were spending two days this week examining proposals set-out in a 30 page report. The scrapping of the rubbish collections and the
ONCE-a-week rubbish collections may be scrapped under Budget plans being discussed.
Members of North Herts District Council were spending two days this week examining proposals set-out in a 30 page report.
The scrapping of the rubbish collections and the introduction of a once every two weeks' collection service is included in a long list of savings and growth options.
These were being looked at during councillor workshops which will eventually shape the district council's Budget.
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The service over 12 months has cost more than £1.7 million and the council reckons that changing the collections would save £50,000 in 2007-08 and £250,000 in 2008-09.
In a report, the council says that changing the collection routine would help towards meeting Government recycling and waste targets.
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The change of collections, too, could see an enhancement of recycling schemes.
The Government-backed Waste and Action Resources Programme says that about 100 local authorities are now undertaking alternate week collections.
But it advises that any move to such a scheme should be introduced in the winter to reduce opposition as this was likely to grow during the summer months.
It continued that "good housekeeping" should overcome concerns of residents who would raise concerns about bad smells and problems with vermin.
"It is advisable to roll out the scheme in autumn, winter or early spring such that by the time the warmer weather arrives residents are used to the scheme.
But a programme spokesman said that the group was not suggesting that every council should adopt the scheme.
The council is also looking at saving £5,300 each year until 2012 on its circulation of press cuttings to members, and encouraging councillors to visit website.
It is looking, too, to saving £36,000 each year over the next six years on advertising and "maximising" the use of its own website for vacancies.
Cuts to the £126,684 cost of running holiday play schemes for children are under consideration, too.
The council believes it could save £13,580-a-year by allowing a "partner" to run the schemes.
All-in-all, the council is looking for saving amounting to about £1.003 million in 2007-08 - and there still appears to be a savings gap of £233,000.
And it expects that next year's council tax demands will be capped at 5 per cent.
The council is looking to produce a draft Budget in December once the current review has been undertaken.
A number of "income increase options" have been earmarked in the report.
These include a suggestion to increase residents' parking permits to £52-a-year which would see a rise in income of £13,000-a-year, and an increase in car parking charges every three years.
In the last 12 months, the council was expected to collect a total of £1,266,950 from car parking charges, but the actual figure dropped to £930,626.
An increase in parking charges would see a likely rise in council income to £126,700.
Other increases would see a rise in planning application fees and in pest control fees.
The district council is also looking for growth in certain areas such as increasing support for town centre managers and rising part-time hours in its electoral services team to implement the Electoral Administration Bill with its emphasis on postal voting.