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Cabinet to consider budget saving and income generation proposals

Councillors in Poole will next week consider a number of proposals in support the Council’s financial position.

Cabinet members will consider a range of reports on proposals to save money in the Council’s budget, or generate additional income, at a meeting on Tuesday 14 July 2015.

Cabinet will be asked to recommend to members of the Full Council, proposals for a £1.5 million programme of investment in solar panels on council buildings, including libraries, leisure centres and town centre car parks. The programme could generate estimated savings to the Council's budget of between £76,000 and £166,000 a year, while also supporting Poole's commitment to reduce carbon emissions.

Members of Cabinet will also be asked to recommend the Council invests £3.6 million to build up to 178 additional beach huts and refurbish a further 131 existing huts. If approved, the proposal could generate an additional income from beach hut rentals of approximately £275,000 a year to support the Council's budget.

Cllr Janet Walton, Leader of the Council, Borough of Poole, said: "We've made savings of around £60 million since 2010 but the continued reduction in government funding, combined with increasing demand for many local services, means the Council continues to face an extremely challenging financial future.

"To help us meet this challenge, we must look towards innovative 'invest to save' proposals such as the solar panel programme and plans for new beach huts that can deliver long-term savings for the Council and local taxpayers."

A recommendation to withdraw Poole's Mobile Library Service following the implementation of Community Library and Book Swap schemes will also be considered by Cabinet. Withdrawal of the Mobile Library Service would save the Council £50,000 a year. The Council has worked in partnership with the Royal Volunteer Service (RVS) to expand its Home Library Service for people living in residential and care home settings. In addition, the existing mobile library vehicle would be used to provide a new community library at Talbot Primary School for people living in the Wallisdown area.

Cllr Walton added: "The Council consulted users of the Mobile Library Service on the proposals last year and since then it has successfully launched two new community libraries in Bearwood.  The proposal set out in the report for Cabinet members offers not only a significant budget saving  but also an improved service for residents in sheltered housing and an opportunity for people to get more involved in their local community." 

Among other reports for consideration by Cabinet members is a recommendation to consult on changes to Poole's existing Local Council Tax Support Scheme.

The meeting of Cabinet will be held at the Committee Suite in the Civic Centre, Poole, on Tuesday 14 July at 7pm.

Read the full agenda and reports for the meeting

An extra Cabinet meeting will be held on Tuesday 28 July to consider the implications of the Government's Summer Budget, announced by Chancellor George Osborne this week.

Andrew Flockhart, Interim Chief Executive of Borough of Poole, said: "Following the Chancellor's budget announcement, it is clear local government will continue to face funding reductions and spending pressures over the next few years.

"The continued focus on reducing the national deficit and public spending will inevitably shape how we provide services to Poole residents in the future. The meeting of Cabinet on 28 July will consider the further steps the Council will need to take to save money and generate new income in order to sustain the vital services it provides to the public."