Sunday, 12 September 2010

The art of budgeting

Is this art; is it graffiti; should it be preserved; should it be cleaned off? Whatever your view it was certainly news. Once it was confirmed as a genuine Banksy, the council made sure it was protected.

Along with Ben Eine’s mural on Norman Road Hastings could boast works by the two best known street artists in the country. Other towns must have been green with envy when the read about it in the papers.

Our town really hit the headlines this Summer with more than 6,000 pirates smashing the world record and Newsnight ‘adopting’ one of our roundabouts. We must have got more column inches in the national press and more TV time than any other town of our size.

And if Hastings comes across as a bit different, a bit quirky then that’s our unique selling point.

But as Autumn creeps in our minds are turning to more challenging issues. The government has announced there will be serious reductions in spending for local councils. We don’t know how serious but we are having to plan for a 25% reduction in income over the next four years and we want your help in determining how it will have to be done.

When we were elected we promised to “Involve local people in debating alternative options” so we will be holding a Big Conversation with the people of the town. We want to hear your thoughts.

What should our priorities be? What services do you value the most and would least like to see cut?

Perhaps you feel passionately that maintaining our parks and open spaces is a necessity or perhaps you’ve got some ideas on how we can cut back our spending in this area.

Over the coming few weeks you should have a letter through your door explaining how to contribute to the Big Conversation. We are organising road shows at a shopping centre near you – Tesco’s, the Priory Meadow. Kings Road. And there will be ‘meet the leader’ sessions around the town.

We want you to feel you have all your questions answered and all the information you need to give us a really informed view. And of course you can always find more information about on our website:

When we finally set the budget with however much money we are left with we will be guided by – your comments in this consultation and what we promised to deliver when we were elected