THE borough council might have to increase its financial contribution to Cheshire’s £8m overall cost of local government reorganisation.
A report reveals the cost of creating two new super-councils under LGR is “likely to be higher”, meaning the county’s district councils might have to increase their financial input proportionately as well as looking for any savings.
The original bid estimate was £3m.
In April the borough council and its counterparts in Chester and Vale Royal will be merged to form a new authority taking charge of every council service, from bins and libraries to social care and schools. It will be named Cheshire West & Chester Council.
On the same date, the district councils in East Cheshire will be scrapped to form one large authority, and Cheshire County Council will officially cease to exist.
Alan Hill, borough head of financial services, says in a report to the council’s resources committee, that the overall transitional cost for Cheshire is around £8m, though work is continuing to reduce this to nearer £3m.
Officers from both sides of the county have been meeting to ensure costs are kept down and savings are found.
“A final figure is not yet available but the £8m quoted is unlikely to reduce significantly,” says Mr Hill.
Under the heading Effects on the Council, he adds: “The original bid figure of £3m presumed all authorities would contribute to these costs.
“In anticipation of this, the council set aside £250,000 as part of its 2008/09 budget strategy. All districts are contributing on the basis of tax base. In effect, this reflects their ability to pay.
“However, as the costs are likely to be higher, contributions from all authorities will increase proportionately.
“In addition, all authorities are being asked to re-examine current budgets to see whether any emergency savings could be utilised also.”
Asked by the Pioneer to elaborate, Mr Hill said: “It needs to be remembered that the £8m quoted is the total cost for both of the new authorities, i.e Cheshire East and Cheshire West.
“At this stage it is very much work in progress, with final details not expected for some weeks.
“The council has already budgeted to meet its share of the costs, as have the other authorities in Cheshire West.’’