DRASTIC measures to cut £2million from Amber Valley Borough Council’s budget have been approved at a heated meeting.
The council announced last week it had prepared a hit list of 73 proposals to drastically reduce spending over the next two years.
On Wednesday, February 9, at a full meeting of the authority, councillors voted on 55 of the proposals – passing every one. The remainder will be dealt with later. It has a yearly budget of around £16million, £10m of which comes in grants from the Government.
The council now has the delegated authority to act on the measures including, charging for previously free services such as vermin control and only collecting garden waste during the summer months. Voluntary redundancies will also be considered in a bid to cut its wages bill.
However, leader of the opposition Labour Group Cllr Paul Jones has accused the ruling Tory group of ‘rail-roading’ through the measures without debating them in depth.
He said: “We weren’t given any costings or reasons why these proposals were being suggested.
“We were being asked to support something that we didn’t have the whole information on. This is the first time something like this has happened in the 20 years I have been on the council.
“It appears the cabinet seem to be rail-roading these ideas through the council and that is hardly democratic.”
Cllr Jones had a motion to defer the vote until the next full council meeting on March 1 turned down.
He argued he description of some of the proposals was ‘vague’ meaning councillors ‘didn’t know what they were voting on’.
Cllr Jones has now demanded that the leader of the council Cllr Stuart Bradford release more detail as to how much each proposal will save.
Deputy leader of the council Cllr Liz Bowley said the cabinet did not intend to ‘rail-road’ the proposals through the voting, adding that any requests for more detailed cost break downs would be answered. There are no plans to publish the details yet, added Cllr Bowley, but it was being considered.
Cllr Bowley said: “Obviously we are politically opposed but at the end of the day every councillor has got the well beiing of Amber Valley at heart.
“It must be remembered that not every one of the proposals are cuts, many are aimed at generating more revenue for the council.”