Council needs to save £1.2million from budget

tis  Harrogate Council building.  (140131M1d)
tis Harrogate Council building. (140131M1d)

Harrogate Borough Council will need to make £1.2million in savings in order to balance the books in 2015/16.

The council is to carry out a public consultation asking residents and businesses what they think of its services ahead of making and funding decisions for next year’s budget.

Council leader, Coun Richard Cooper (Con, High Harrogate) said: “Every year we look at what we want and then we look at how much money we have, and just like a household budget we have to realise what we can afford and what we can’t.

“There is always a longer wish list than the list of things we will do. We want to talk to people and see what they want us to spend money on.”

The council is seeking public opinion on the wide range of services it provides including planning, housing, finance, customer services and sports/leisure so that it can ascertain what it does well and what it could improve upon.

Coun Cooper said: “We spend £800,000 a year on grants and around £550,000 on tourism through the Harrogate International Centre and Visit Harrogate, these are things we think are worth spending on.”

Harrogate Borough Council has frozen council tax rates for the last five years, however Coun Cooper said it was still too early to predict if rates would need to go up next year.

He said: “It is a bit of a miracle that we have managed to freeze it for the last five years. It is too early to tell at the moment but we will always look to freeze council tax if possible.”

He added: “The survey also provides the opportunity for local residents to tell us how we might improve those services. No-one has a monopoly on good ideas and we need everyone’s views on how to deliver more for less while setting a reasonable level of Council Tax.”

Visit to fill in the survey.