Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board have removed more than half a million pounds worth of proposed savings from the budget it has recommended to Full Council.
A number of proposals have been taken completely off the table, whilst others have been frozen or delayed for a year.
If approved by Full Council on February 20, it means Council Tax will increase by 4.89 per cent – a level which will allow the council to deliver services and invest in key areas, whilst minimising the impact on the public.
Cllr David Jenkins, Executive Board Member for Resources, said a better than expected budget settlement from Welsh Government helped the Executive Board set its draft revenue budget.
However, he pointed out that additional pressures – particularly in social care – meant it was in effect a real terms reduction.
Many of the proposals taken out of the recommended budget are those most strongly objected to in the recent budget consultation, including reduced winter gritting operations.
A number of proposals have been deferred, including proposed reductions to Youth Support Services and Educational Psychology, and the proposed closure of the Pendine Outdoor Education Centre.
Meanwhile, school meal prices and car parking fees have been frozen, and extra money has been put in to the budget for education and social care.
Speaking at Executive Board, Cllr Jenkins said: “One thing that is generally clear from those who took part in the consultation is that they do appreciate that difficult choices need to be made.
“Adopting these proposals allows the Executive Board to present a fair and balanced budget to County Council, which responds to the major concerns fed back from the consultation and provides significant extra resource to critical services.
“I as portfolio member for Resources, and member colleagues, have really tried to listen both to the public and fellow members’ concerns and respond accordingly.”
He added: “I would like to express my thanks to all who took part in the consultation or responded to the surveys. This allowed significant debate on the budget and has provided overall significant feedback to us in respect of the original proposals put forward.
“However I must say this year we received a poor response from the community and we will need to look next year as to how we get the public back engaged.”