Opposition Plaid Cymru councillors in Caerphilly have warned against a list of proposed spending cuts which would see charges brought in for dealing with rats and garden waste collection, closing public toilets and hiking sports club pitch hire charges.
Shadow Regeneration Spokesperson Councillor Rob Gough said: ”While appreciating that £14.6m worth of savings need to be made by the council as a whole, the Plaid Cymru group questions the priorities drawn up by council officers.
“Is proposing a £20 fee when people call the council because they have rats in their home or a charge for the collection of garden waste the correct priorities, as well as £25 for all replacement waste bins, even if they are stolen?
“It is also proposed to stop cleaning parks at weekends which could leave empty bottles and cans and broken glass left strewn around on the busiest days for families and children.”
Councillor Colin Mann, leader of the Plaid Cymru group, said: “These swingeing cuts will hit people in Caerphilly County Borough Council hard and we question some of the priorities drawn up on the environment budget.
“Given the scandals at Caerphilly council over the last year, the public will ask what pain those at the top will bear.”
Among the potential environmental cuts in 2014-15 are:
· Increase outdoor facility charges by 20% for three years, bringing in £60,000.
· Review weekend parks cleansing service saving £10,000.
· Charging for ALL replacement new issue waste containers (raising £63,000).
· Closing all nine public toilets or three of less well used conveniences saving £24,000.
· Introduction of charges for garden waste collection services (£80,000).
· Introducing £20 charge for dealing with rat infestation.
· Review of off-street parking charges saving £30,000 in 2014-15.
· Review of leisure centre provision – including closures saving £20,000 in 2014-15, £66,000 in 2015-16 and £731,000 in 2016-17.