Plans to cover the costs of a growing demand for services will be reviewed by West Sussex County Council Cabinet Members at a meeting next week (Tuesday 28 January 2020).
The draft budget will also include details of investment in areas which need improvement, with £12m identified for improvements in Children’s Services and £2.6m for improvements in the Fire and Rescue Service.
The budget report also identifies that money from reserves has been used to settle an outstanding claim and associated costs of the contested procurement process for highways maintenance. A sum of £4m has been paid to the claimant Amey after it instigated legal proceedings.
The Cabinet will go through the proposed budget for 2020/21 before it goes before a meeting of the full council on February 14 for final approval.
The Cabinet will also consider comments from the Performance and Finance Scrutiny Committee, which meets on Wednesday 22 January.
Jeremy Hunt, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “Like many other local authorities across the country we are facing a huge demand for our services, against a backdrop of a significant reduction in government funding since 2010/11.
“In West Sussex we have been clear that we have some real challenges in service delivery that we need to address and future investment is a big part of that.
“The draft budget papers present a balanced position for the coming year, but also highlight a substantial budget gap of £45m over the following three years.
“To help alleviate pressures on our revenue budget, our £712m five-year capital programme includes more ‘invest to save’ schemes and further plans to invest in our successful income generating initiatives such as energy solar farms and battery storage projects.
“The scrutiny committee will look carefully at the proposed budget to ensure the council can provide the services we all rely on in a cost effective way.”
• The Performance and Finance Scrutiny Committee meets on Wednesday 22 January at 10.30am.
• The Cabinet meets on Tuesday 28 January at 2.15pm.
• Members of the public are welcome to attend the meetings which both take place at County Hall, Chichester.
• The meetings can also be watched online at: http://www.westsussex.public-i.tv/core/portal/home.
For further information about the council’s financial position visit: www.westsussex.gov.uk/budget