What should be key priorities?

High Peak residents and businesses have been invited to go online and tell the Borough Council how they would like to see next year’s budget spent.

Borough Council Leader Tony Ashton has launched an online consultation to help the local authority decide how it spends around £13m in the new financial year.

Tough decisions will need to be made as there will be less money available and the public are being asked to play their part in deciding how it will be spent.

“The Council’s government support settlement for 2011/12 – 2012/13 is very tough but we are better placed than most authorities to face the major challenges ahead,” said Cllr Ashton.

“The work we have already done with our Staffordshire Moorlands partners through the Alliance will stand us in good stead.

“Our financial strategy is to keep Council Tax low – there will be no increase in our Council Tax next year – provide good value for money and protect frontline services”.

Emily Thrane, Executive Councillor for Corporate Services, added: “Before we set the budget in February, we need to understand what our communities see as the key priorities they want from their Council in future.

“We are asking for your views online for the first time. It’s good value for money and lots of people can take part. Please go to the website and join in.”

To take part in the consultation, load the council’s interactive budget simulator by visiting www.highpeak.gov.uk and clicking the prominent link on the home page.

Residents can submit their ideas about where the budget should be spent. Using an ‘interactive budget simulator’ consultees are offered a ‘virtual’ opportunity to decide how much money is spent on each service.

Using sliding scales, those taking part can see what the possible impact would be to changes to the funding of the various departments.

Before the budget setting takes place, the Council want to understand what the community want from their council.

They want to know: where should their efforts be concentrated? What services could be delivered differently, or by different organisations or people? What should they stop doing altogether?

The consultation closes at 5pm on Friday, January 28.