ASSURANCES have been given that moving money from a pot that funds replacing vehicles in the Powys County Council fleet won’t see gritting roads and rubbish collection suffer.
At a meeting of the council’s Economy, Residents and Communities scrutiny committee on Monday, February 13, councillors looked at a proposal to take out a further £191,000 from the replacement vehicle fund reserve for the 2023/2024 budget.
Money each year is transferred into this reserve to fund the buying of new vehicles when the council needs them.
On average, Powys keeps hold of its vehicles for seven years before replacing them.
The £191,000 is part of budget amendments agreed between the cabinet and the Independents for Powys group and will go towards the £500,000 fund set up to help schools deal with the rising cost of energy.
The Highways Transport and Recycling service had already agreed to reduce the contribution in next year’s budget towards new vehicles by £1 million and the £191,000 will go on top of that.
Cllr Karl Lewis said: “Because we’re servicing vehicles more often is the officer and portfolio holder confident that there will be enough spare capacity in the fleet so that we do not see disruption to services the council provides.
“I’ll need assurances that no disruption will take place to gritting, residual waste collections, kerbside collections, communal bin recycling and cardboard bins won’t be left to overflow.”
Head of highways transport and recycling., Matt Perry said: “In terms of the fleet, we’re confident.
“We have got some backup vehicles.”
He believed that problems with collection are more likely to be due to staff issues caused by sickness.
Mr Perry said: “As long as we plan and are more proactive than reactive we should be fine.”
Cabinet member for a greener Powys, Cllr Jackie Charlton said: “Obviously we can’t say that there’s going to be no disruption.
“Much of that we were experiencing is usually due to staff sicknesses, than lorry breakdowns, although we do have lorry breakdowns, we can cover those.”
Cllr Charlton added that moving the funding to cover rising school energy costs is “a good purpose.”
The committee’s recommendation on the amendment will be presented to the Powys cabinet at a meeting tomorrow, Tuesday, February 14.