Council looks at yearly progress

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The council released its annual report for the last business year detailing some of its achievements and cost-cutting measures as they aim to balance the books.

The full interactive report, which can be viewed on Horsham District Council’s website, showed that by cutting 100 jobs and other measures total expenditure and total income were matched at £67.8m for 2011/2012.

The council now employs 484 people at the cost of £16.25m. They receive £43m from the housing and council tax benefit, but spend £32.7m on housing each year.

According to the report they have slashed costs by £7m over the past five years.

Ray Dawe (Con, Chantry), leader of Horsham District Council, said:“I am pleased to report that, despite facing unprecedented financial challenges, the council has achieved a great deal in the last year and the Annual Report shows how well we have delivered on our priorities.

“Horsham has been voted as one of the best places to live in the UK and the district is considered to be one of the safest in the area.”

While increased parking charges have riled visitors to the town centre over the past year, total income from parking stands as £3.2m, which according to the report is “to help us invest in bringing our car parks up to date, and provide a better experience for users.”

The five listed District Plan priorities between 2011 and 2015 are economic development, efficiency and taxation, arts, heritage and leisure, living and working communities, the environment, and health and wellbeing.

However in the residents’ survey almost the same number agreed and disagreed that the council took account of residents’ views when making decisions, with 30 per cent agreeing and 28 per cent disagreeing.

Residents also listed activities for teenagers, public transport, affordable decent housing, job prospects, and health services as the five areas that needed improving most in the Horsham district.

Other achievements listed include winning the Waste Fleet of the Year at the Waste Recycling Awards 2011 along with Acorn Plus vehicle supplier Dennis Eagle, and the formation of the rural economy advisory group, which meets quarterly.

In the interactive report, residents can judge how well the council delivered over the year on the priorities, and find out where the council’s income comes from and how much it has cost to provide services for residents, businesses and visitors within the Horsham district.

HDC have embarked on a business transformation programme, which they say will see them make the most of its assets and look at different ways to make savings, increase income, using resources in the best possible way, while they aim to keep council tax low.

To read the full report visit www.horsham.gov.uk