Just as I did back in 2014, I'm resurrecting my blog for the purposes of getting some points across regarding the Council's draft budget, which will be announced over the next few days.
Things were really tough in 2014, but now they are truly horrendous. The Tory Government has carried on where the Tory/LibDem hybrid left off, and is targetting local council spending for the heaviest of the cuts - presumably they continue to bank on people blaming their local elected representatives for the deterioration in council services, rather than Whitehall and Westminster, where responsibility truly lies.
As a starter for 10, here is DBC Leader Cllr. Bill Dixon's overview of the budget, which you will be able to see in March's edition of the One Darlington magazine:
"I appreciate that the budget proposals in this magazine, and available in full on our website, don’t make for easy reading. We have had to make some tough decisions in the past months to ensure we can continue to provide the services that we think are most valued by you, our residents.
This means we have retained the Dolphin Centre, a library service and aspects of the Borough’s heritage, alongside the essential services that protect the most vulnerable in our society.
Most people in the Borough do not use most council services but I know you care deeply about those services that you do use and, in some cases, rely on. It has been a juggling act as the money we get from Government has been reduced by £13m, which is a significant amount, but we have tried to ensure a core offer that has value for the majority of residents.
The reduction in funding from the Government amounts to a tax on local councils but it is important to remember that these cuts only effect local council spending, they do not affect the aspirations of the town.
Everywhere I look I see new private sector development and investment coming into the town, from the new cinema complex to Central Park, and as long as people continue to see a future for the town it will thrive. Darlington’s biggest asset has always been its residents and as we see services we have relied on being sadly cut, now is the time for us all to step up and think what we can do for our community, however large and small.
By working together and helping each other I am confident Darlington will remain a great place to live, work and visit.
I want to hear your views on the proposals but it is important to understand that this is a realistic offer of services given the resources we have. Sadly we can only play the cards we have been dealt, not the cards we would like to play."
I'll be posting more over the next few days, to try and make sense of the numbers and what the proposals actually mean.