TWO PUBLIC meetings aimed at giving local people the chance to find out more and have their say on Darlington Council’s budget proposals are set to take place in Darlington on Wednesday 16 March.

The meetings will take place at 2pm and 6pm in Central Hall within the town’s Dolphin Centre. Council Leader, Bill Dixon, and members of the Council’s Cabinet will present the main budget proposals put forward to help save the council a further £10.2m by 2020 on top of savings of around £35.5m already made.

After each Cabinet Member’s presentation on their portfolio area, there will be time for members of the public to ask questions and give their views. It is anticipated that each session will last around three hours giving people plenty of time to have their say.

Councillor Bill Dixon, Leader of Darlington Borough Council, said:

“This is a great opportunity to get involved and find out more about the financial challenges faced by the Council. The cuts we have to make will affect most, if not all, of our residents in some way, some more than others. It makes sense then to find out exactly what is going on from those who have to make these difficult decisions – the councillors.

“We are still consulting on these proposals and are open to suggestions as to how we can make the savings required. These are difficult and testing times and the key here is to be as open and transparent in this process as we possibly can and let people know how we have formed these proposals. It is also a great opportunity for us to listen and take on board people’s concerns and ideas going forward. I urge everyone to come along, get involved, and find out more.”

The second session, at 6pm, will be filmed and uploaded to the council’s website: www.darlington.gov.uk/budget at a later date giving those who are unable to attend an insight into what was discussed.

More information on the budget proposals can be found on a dedicated microsite within the councils’ website. This gives a full list of the proposals and how the council will make decisions along with timescales and how people can have their say.

Consultation will continue until 31 May. Final proposals will be made at a Cabinet meeting on 22 June and subject to approval at a special Council meeting a week later.