A new online Budget Simulator has been launched today (Monday 23, September), giving the public the chance to set their own draft Council budget in line with their own preferences.
The platform will be live until midnight on Sunday, 20 October 2019. For more information, visit the new Budget 2020/21 page on our website.
The results from completed simulators will be collated and passed to Councillors, giving the people of Stirling a unique opportunity to inform the decisions taken by the 23 Elected Members at next year’s Budget Setting meeting in February.
Council Leader, Cllr Scott Farmer, said: “Setting the budget is the most important action we take as Councillors each year, and this tool is an excellent way for the public to engage in that process.
“We pledged earlier this year to deliver a digital tool as part of our multi-channel engagement process and residents and staff can now shape their own draft budget to their own liking at the touch of a button.”
Spending on vital services
Stirling Council spends around £350m each year delivering the vital services that are so important to the everyday lives of our citizens and communities. This covers education, providing social care, collecting bins and recycling, taking care of our roads and many other services valued by the public.
In February this year, the Council approved a financial plan to safeguard vital services and protect the area’s most vulnerable people, which included more than £25.5million of capital investment.
The Council is facing another tough budget challenge next year, however, and potentially for the years to come, as costs go up and funding reduces.
Cllr Farmer added: “Early indications show that the budget gap has grown since last year amid continued austerity mixed with rising costs.
“We could be faced with a gap of anywhere up to £10million but by getting the public to use the Budget Simulator, we’ll be able to better understand what matters most to our residents. We can then use that information to inform our decisions next year when the financial position will be clearer.”
Public engagement crucial
Convenor of the Council’s Finance and Economy Committee, Cllr Margaret Brisley said: “We have always assessed every option in front of us to balance Stirling Council’s budget and we have always invested in services and our communities.
“Our Key Priorities are the roadmap for achieving this as Councillors but we also want to empower the public to have their say.
“The Budget Simulator will be a key part of this process and I hope communities across Stirling will engage with the tool to help inform our plans for next year.”
Stirling Council’s Communities Team will be visiting groups and events across Stirling in the coming weeks to promote the Budget Simulator. Full information on key dates will be released in due course.
Residents will also have the chance to provide fresh ideas and suggestions for investment and transformation through the simulator, which will be taken into account when submissions are made.