THE RESULTS of this year’s public budget consultation have been discussed by Bridgend Council this week, after a Cabinet meeting that took place on February 7.
The report titled ‘Shaping Bridgend’s Future’ was conducted over a five-week period between December 19 and January 22, and was completed by 1,441 people across the borough.
In the report residents were asked to give feedback on a broad range of subjects concerning the 2023-2024 proposed budget, outlining their main views and concerns over the plans that currently include a 6% increase in council tax for the area.
Ahead of the consultation Bridgend Council had previously said it faces an unprecedented financial challenge over the coming years, with an estimated funding gap of up to £20m in the 2023/24 financial period.
When asked what services were most important to them, the top three choices for residents were street cleaning, care for older people and disabled adults, and street/road repair.
The services deemed to be the least priority were in improvements to council buildings, improving the council’s website and online services, and making the council more commercial.
The questions about the setting of council tax were responded to a total of 1,046 times with 46% choosing to keep council tax at the same level as it currently is.
Additionally 41% voted to increase council tax by a bit to help protect the most important services, with 7% voting to increase council tax to the more significant 6% to protect services.
Questions over council performance were also asked with 45% of people voting that the council performed “badly” or “very badly” in delivering services that they value in a timely and easy manner, compared to 40% who chose “OK”.
When asked how they thought the council has performed over the past 12 months 52% of respondents chose “OK” while 38% chose “badly” or “very badly”.
Other key findings showed that 76% of people felt the council had not improved the town centres in Bridgend County, and 80% of people supported the development of more online services.