Hemel Hempstead residents can have their say on county council budget plans

The comments will have to be submitted by February 1

Wednesday, 13th January 2021, 1:04 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th January 2021, 1:08 pm

Residents in Hertfordshire are being offered a chance to have their say on county council budget proposals – before they are voted on by councillors next month (February).

This year (2021/22) Hertfordshire County Council will have a budget that’s in excess of £870m – for a range of services that include social care, education, highways, community protection and public health.

The budget proposals – known as the ‘integrated plan’ – include a collection of spending and ‘savings’ plans across its wide range of essential services.

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And it also sets out the council’s plans to increase council tax by 3.99 per cent – which includes a two per cent precept ring fenced for social care.

In the past the county council has consulted residents for 12 weeks in the autumn on the principles behind the budget-setting.

But this year for the first time residents will have the chance to comment AFTER the budget proposals have been published.

That means that for the first time residents will be able to comment on particular proposals.

But it means those comments will have to be submitted by February 1 – just three weeks after the proposals have been published (January 11).

Councillors say the change in approach has been adopted this year because of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. But if it’s successful they say it may be repeated in future years.

Executive member for resources ad performance Cllr Ralph Sangster says the feedback from previous pre-budget consultations had been similar each year

And he says he’s keen to seen how much difference this approach will make.

Addressing residents directly, he says: “Now more than ever, it is so important that we get feedback from you, Hertfordshire residents, as your council tax, along with money from other funding sources, supports the vital local services provided by the county council.

“The proposed budget will allow for investment in many key areas and following a year like no other, we feel that this approach strikes the right balance between minimising the council tax burden for residents, whilst enabling investment in critical services which matter for our county.

“If you live in Hertfordshire, these budgetary decisions will impact you and your loved ones, so please do have your say by filling in the online survey.”

The online survey – which closes on February 1 – can be found here.

Those who cannot access the survey online can contact the council on 0300 123 4040 or at [email protected] for support.