City Council cuts £1m from budget and will charge for green waste

The City of Lincoln Council will cut £1 million from its budget over the next 12 months. Due to this, it will introduce charges for green bin collections, withdraw funding from certain projects, restructure departments and remove eight jobs.

The council needs to make cuts of over £3 million by 2016/17, after more than £4.5 million of savings have already been made since 2008.

City of Lincoln Council Leader Ric Metcalfe said: “Because of the scale of the problem, we can’t go on salami slicing. We now have to look at what the council is capable to continue doing. The prospects of our income are showing a downward trajectory. This is a problem about income, not about spending.”

The cuts

The local authority identified several areas where it will be looking at making savings over the next year.

It will introduce a £25 per year fee to collect green garden waste recycling bins. There are currently 37,000 homes using the free fortnightly service, and the council hopes to raise some £200,000 per year if 25% of current users take up the service.

People will be able to opt out of the green bin scheme if they do not want to pay the £25 yearly fee, which only applies to green waste, not recycling or black bin collections.

The council will also be downsizing, with eight posts to go. Three will be from the Urban Rangers team, who look after parks and urban spaces in the city, leading to savings of £100,000 per year. The Commons Warden role will be lost.

The sports development team will be let go too. The team manages events such as the Lincoln 10K and Dance Factor, but the council assured it will find ways of continuing the events.

Meanwhile, the council will be looking at cutting some of its grants and subsidies for services. The £270,000 per grant to Drill Hall will be cut by £75,000 over the next three to four years.

The council will stop subsidising the Walk and Ride service, and will make changes to CCTV staffing arrangements for £70,000 per year savings.

Active Nation also receives an £800,000 per year subsidy from the City Council, but this is earmarked for reduction soon.

The council owns land and property worth £77 million, and it will now be looking at whether it is earning enough from its assets and whether it can sell and reinvest in some other projects.

The authority is also looking at renegotiating with external contractors some of its £7 million contracts.

Labour Councillor Ric Metcalfe added: “I am furious that we have been put in this position. The last thing we wanted to do was to stop providing service that we have built up over the years.

“These decisions have been incredibly difficult to make and have been made because there were no other options available to us.”

The City Council also looked at increasing car parking prices by 10% to raise £419,000 per year, or close public conveniences for £319,000 per year savings. However, these ideas were rejected by the council.

Budget cuts Q&A

Can I opt-out of the green bin scheme?

The green bin scheme will be an opt-in service, where people who want to continue using it will be charged £25.

Does this affect my other bin collections?

No, this will not affect the general household waste (black bins) or brown recycling box services.

When will the charge for green waste come in?

It is likely that the charges for green waste will begin mid-2013.

I am on benefits, how will the £25 charge for green waste affect me?

The green bin scheme is a flat rate charge, therefore everyone who opts into the scheme will be charged £25.

Does my council tax not cover green waste?

Councils do have to provide pick ups of garden waste on request but, unlike recycling and black waste bins, are entitled to charge a small fee for doing this.

What will happen to the 10K?

The 10K will go ahead this year and for the foreseeable future, along with Dance Factor and Fair Play Football event.