Residents in County Durham are being invited to have their say on further proposals to balance council budgets next year and beyond.
Durham County Council needs to make £16.3m in budget savings for 2024/25 – even if council tax is increased – and is forecasting a budget gap of £67.6m over the next four years.
Measures to save £2.3m next year, and £5.8m over the four years to 2027/28 have already been agreed.
A consultation on proposals to save a further £3.7m next year, and £6.6m over the four years to 2027/28 has just ended.
Views are now being sought on a fresh set of proposals to save an additional £1.9m next year, and £2.9m over the next four years to 2027/28.
Cllr Richard Bell, the council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for finance, said: “Like all councils, we are facing unavoidable financial pressures driven by high levels of inflation, rising costs and increasing levels of demand, particularly for adults’ and children’s social care.
“It is increasingly challenging to balance our budgets from the funding received from the Government and the income we are allowed to raise locally, which is primarily through council tax.
“We have called on the government to provide more much-needed financial support to our council and to the wider sector to help with these demands. We’ve also called for a fundamental review of the way councils are funded, and longer-term settlements.
“Our relatively strong financial position means we are not considering a Section 114 Notice, as has been seen at some councils, and we remain committed to strong financial governance and delivering value for public money.
“But like all councils, we are required to set a balanced budget, which leaves us with some incredibly difficult choices. It is unavoidable that the impact will be noticed by the public.”
The recently ended budget consultation also sought residents’ views on a council tax increase and the service areas from which the remaining savings required could be made.
Residents can take part in the six-week consultation, which closes at 5pm on Sunday, December 3, by completing an online survey.
Paper surveys are available from libraries and Customer Access Points.
There is also the option for residents to attend their local Area Action Partnership (AAP) board meeting, where they can receive a presentation and fill in the survey.
The meetings take place between Wednesday November 1 and Thursday November 30.
For full details of consultations, or to complete the online survey or book a place at one of the AAP meetings, visit www.durham.gov.uk/consultation.