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York service cuts and waste charges a step closer
PLANS to change waste schemes, bring in cuts to services and change affordable housing numbers in York have been agreed by leading councillors.
These issues, and City of York Council’s budget for the coming year, were on the agenda last night for members of the authority’s cabinet.
In order for the budget to make savings of £20 million by 2015 the cabinet said cuts should be expected in most areas.
Labour council leader James Alexander said: “We cannot do everything we have done before in the same way, it is not possible. There is not enough money in the system to deal with that demand.”
Among proposals before the cabinet were a public consultation on charges for removing green waste, along with reduced opening hours for the Towthorpe household waste recycling centre.
Other proposed savings included £3.7 million from the adults, children and education budget, £1.1 from customer support services and £1.9 million from the communities and neighbourhoods budget.
The cabinet agreed to the proposals, which will all go to the full council for final agreement later this month.
On affordable housing the cabinet agreed to the Get York Building scheme. This aims to address the housing needs of the city by investing £1 million in tackling overcrowded council homes and reviewing developers’ contributions to the authority when creating homes.
The scheme will also look at the creation of a new mortgage advice scheme to improve the housing market.
Liberal Democrat councillor Ann Reid said she objected to the proposals to charge for green waste removal.
She said: “Residents have already made it clear to us that they do not support a charge for green waste collection.
“Many have said that they will return their green bins rather than pay; 40,000 residents did just that in Newcastle. If that many residents opted out you would actually achieve your savings, but where would that green waste go?”
Conservative councillor Paul Doughty said he also objected to changing the opening hours at Towthorpe, which he felt could lead to queuing vehicles, fly tipping, and the council being issued with landfill financial penalties.
Coun David Levene, cabinet member for environmental services, said studies at Towthorpe had highlighted times the site was underused, and any changes would only affect these points.
He said: “Initial figures show there are periods of downtime which could stand to be affected but we are not considering closure of Towthorpe. I have had emails asking me that, and I want it to be on record.”
Coun Janet Looker, cabinet member for education, children and young people’s services, said the paper on housing was “one of the most welcome things” the council had passed in recent years, as it would help buyers come into the city, and free up rental properties, which would also benefit from investment.