CHESTER'S council coffers are caught in the crossfire of the damaging down turn in the country's economy.
Resources portfolio holder Cllr Adrian Walmsley (Con, Newton St Michael's) revealed to the ruling Tory Executive that city finances are slipping further towards the red as the credit crunch tightens its grip on the Town Hall's £22m spending plans.
The executive heard the council is heading towards a £1.21m shortfall unless corrective measures are taken, up by £112,000 since an earlier report.
Cllr Walmsley and strategic director Mr Jim Cassin have already pulled together a recovery package which they have now revised to take account of what they describe as the "budget pressures" facing the council.
It is now agreed that an increased £555,000 should be found from services and an extra £45,000 in savings from staff turnover.
Referring to the shortfall the council now faces, Cllr Walmsley says:"Further measures are being taken to deal with this unique set of circumstances.
"We are caught in the crossfire of the downturn in the national economic position."
"A number of authorities are in a similar position although the impact on parking and park and ride is more severe in Chester than elsewhere," said Cllr Walmsley.
Asked by council leader Cllr Margaret Parker (Con, Mickle Trafford) to confirm that frontline services would not be affected, Mr Cassin said:"We have tried to come up with a package of measures which do not have an impact on front line services.
"We have initiated a whole series of efficiencies which have not affected services."
Commenting on the most recent budget report, Liberal Democrat group leader Cllr Paul Roberts (Farndon) told the executive:"It is clearly a concern that every time we get back to a review, the situation is worse.
"Some of the things we seem to be cutting are real frontline services."