Members of the Cabinet have been carefully considering your feedback on the 2020/21 budget proposals and have now published their response.

There were over 870 responses to the consultation with parking and public toilets the two areas most commented on. Additional feedback was also received from a wide range of stakeholders, including service providers, partners and the general public. This was gathered through our social media channels, the Ask Us Cabinet Conversation event and a range of community and engagement meetings attended by members of the Cabinet. The views of the Overview and Scrutiny Board were also taken into consideration.

All this feedback has been taken on board and Cabinet has now responded to the issues raised, where it can, being mindful that we need to set a balanced budget. As a result, it has made some amendments to the original proposals which are outlined in a document on the Budget 2020/21 page. Here is a brief summary of the changes:

  • Car parking charges: Increase the cost of the annual car park permit from £365 to £395 which is lower than first proposed. As a result, there will be a further modest increase in parking charges to ensure that car parks make their budgeted 3% per year increase in income
  • Public toilets: Increase new investment from £500,000 to £600,000 and create a new single pod toilet at Goodrington South.
  • UNESCO Geopark: Withdraw this budget saving and continue to contribute towards the cost to enable a Trust to be established to support Torbay’s UNESCO Geopark status.
  • Asset management: No reduction in the annual management fee paid for this service to enable increased revenue to be made from our assets.
  • Community activities: We will allocate £30,000 to support community activities that support the delivery of resort services that matter to local communities. This is in addition to the proposed £50,000 a year Community Enablement Fund with an additional one-off contribution of £200,000.
  • Recycling: Trial three weekly residual waste collection in parts of Torbay to ensure it works before rolling it out across the Bay.

Leader of the Council, Councillor Steve Darling, said: “It’s really pleasing that so many people took part in the budget consultation and I’d like to thank you all for your time and comments. We have listened to your concerns and suggestions and have used your feedback, where possible, to make amendments to our final proposals. We are committed to engaging better with you and we want to make sure that the difficult decisions we have to make to balance the 2020/21 budget reflects the needs and priorities of our communities.” 

Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Councillor Darren Cowell, said: “Difficult decisions have to be made to set a balanced budget and with limited central government funding and the decision not to create town councils we need to find £10.5m of savings. Despite the pressures on our budgets we are making additional investment in our children’s services to ensure we drive forward improvements and better protect our most vulnerable children. We are also planning to deliver a wide range of services to our residents and are committed to working with our communities and partners to find alternative ways of delivering services. We want to put the community back at the heart of the council.” 

The Cabinet’s final budget proposals will be considered at the Adjourned Meeting of the Council being held on 13 February 2020. If the proposed revenue and capital budget are approved by a majority of councillors then they will be adopted on the night. If an objection to the budget is proposed and approved by a majority of councillors, the budget will deferred to the following meeting. Any approved objections will be considered by the Cabinet and a response provided to the meeting of the Council on 27 February 2020 when the budget will be decided.

Council Tax levels will be set at the meeting of the Council on 27 February 2020 as we have to wait for notifications from the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority, the Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner and Brixham Town Council before setting the overall Council Tax for Torbay.

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