Care homes could be closed, CCTV cameras lost, bus routes reduced and art exhibitions stopped as a North Wales council looks to make £17m savings over two years.
Funding could also be slashed by £41,000 for the Scala Cinema in Prestatyn, the Ruthin Craft Centre could lose £30,000 and the Rhyl Pavilion’s funding could be cut by as much as £350,000, as cash-strapped Denbighshire council launches a public consultation over the latest multi-million pound raft of proposed cuts.
Adults services could be cut by a massive £700,000 which could see council run care homes having to close and residents re-homed, with a reduction of £200,000 funding for CCTV security cameras across the county.
Other services which could be hit include tourist information centres, public toilets, school library services, the highways maintenance budget and some grants for children on low incomes for school uniforms.
But council chiefs want people’s views on what the impact would be on slashing such services before any final decisions are made.
They warned there will be difficult decisions ahead, as the local authority follows Wrexham and Flintshire in launching a public consultation over service reductions, with local authority budgets set to be hacked again over the next few years.
The council has already made £20m savings over the past four years.
But on top of that Denbighshire now needs to make £8m of cuts for 2015/16 and a projected £9m the year after.
Up until now the council has concentrated on removing “inefficiencies bureaucracy and management costs” while trying to avoid cutting front line services.
The council’s chief executive Mohammed Mehmet said £10m had already been identified as possible savings over the next two years, but another £7m needed to be found.
He said: “We are looking at a quarter of a billion pounds off local government over the next two years. The impact is going to be about £17m on Denbighshire.
“We have gone through everything the council does and considered what is statutory and what isn’t and what is priority and what isn’t and through a rigorous process have come up with proposals for reducing our expenditure.”
Mr Mehemet insisted about three quarters of the proposals were efficiency and modernisation savings that would not directly impact residents.
But he added: “Something like 16% are direct cuts, these are things where residents will see a difference, because they will be services that we will no longer provide. About 8% are increases in fees and charges.”
High priority services, including education and social services, will be protected and therefore cuts would be felt in some areas more than others.
Denbighshire council leader Hugh Evans said: “This is really a difficult time for staff and is also a difficult time for members as well and I want to make sure that the residents of Denbighshire, fully appreciate the work that has gone into this process and that we are doing as much as we can to lessen the impact on the services that we provide.
“We are still one of the highest performing councils despite this and the message to the residents is, that we will do everything we can to maintain that status.”
Cllr Evans urged local Assembly Members to keep lobbying the Welsh Government to highlight the impact of the cuts.
Denbighshire residents can give their opinions on the cuts at the council’s website, www.denbighshire.gov.uk , or pick up forms at local libraries and one-stop shops.
Key cuts being proposed by Denbighshire council
- Consider the future of adult care services including possible closure of council run care homes - £700,000.
- Stop the funding of CCTV across the county. Enter talks with other parties to see if they can be funded differently - £200,000.
- Stop school library service - £78,000.
- Reduce budget to support local bus routes - £166,000.
- Decrease highways maintenance budget including lengths of road gritted- £250,000.
- Stop council run exhibitions in library galleries - £302,000.
- Consider different ways to operate Rhyl Pavilion Theatre, including operation by private company - £350,000.
- Close some or all public toilets - £60,000.
- Stop funding of Scala Cinema Arts Centre, Prestatyn - £41,000
- Reduce funding Ruthin Craft Centre - £30,000.
- Decrease funding and opening hours for Rhyl and Llangollen Tourist Information Centres - £20,000.
- Stop school uniform grants for Year 8 and above - £38,000.