Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting WN NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
The council will balance books says its leader
11:50am Sunday 16th September 2012 in News
THE leader of Worcester City Council wants people to be more upbeat about the economy – and insists that his council’s finances will get better.
Councillor Simon Geraghty said he was confident that a blackhole of up to £300,000 forecast in the council’s balance sheet will not materialise.
He said he expected income from services such as car parking and sports centre bookings to improve over the next few months after a report revealed that revenues were being battered by the poor economy.
As your Worcester News revealed last week, income from the first three months of the financial year – in April, May and June – was down.
Car parking revenue is down by £75,000 and revenue streams from other areas, such as public toilets, building control and licensing fees on taxis, pubs and clubs, are also lagging behind.
Speaking before a meeting of the Tory cabinet, Coun Geraghty said: “In terms of the budget the £300,000 gap which has been forecast is very much at the top end of where we could be. The pressures which traditionally arise during the summer months usually level out during the course of the year.
“Yes, there will need to be management action to address it, but the figures for the first quarter are not a reflection of what I would expect over the entire year.
“I’ve seen a number of years where the first quarter looks like there could be signs of trouble on the way, but by the end of the year we’ve actually been in a surplus.”
The council’s finance report said that about £100,000 is in the bank to plug some of the shortfall, but that management action is needed to address the remainder of the gap.
Councillor Andy Roberts , the city’s cabinet member for finance, said: “It is different this time because we’re in a recession and while the city is coping ok and the shops are doing better than other areas, we can’t totally buck the trend. It does require management action, but we are on top of the situation.”