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Posted On: 31-01-2020
Posted In: Community

Calculator ImageMid Devon District Council carried out a budget survey in the latter part of 2019 in order to encourage residents and businesses to have their say on the services that are important to them.

The survey, which ran from 31 October 2019 to 6 December 2019 was completed by 429 people after being shared with all parish clerks, local media, on the Council’s website and on social media pages.

The information collated from the survey responses has now been viewed by the Council’s financial officers and elected members and will contribute towards the development of the 2020-2021 budget which will be finalised over the coming weeks and will come into effect on 1 April 2020.

Andrew Jarrett, Deputy Chief Executive, said:

“Setting the Council’s budget is a difficult process, especially when our funding from Central Government continues to decrease but the cost of delivering high quality services rises. As a Council we are committed to ensuring our residents and businesses get value for money and we are always keen to ensure the budget we set reflects the priorities of our communities. I would like to thank everyone who took the time to respond to the survey.”

Cabinet Member for Finance, Councillor Alex White added:

“I am really pleased to see that many people in our community have taken the time to complete this survey. Budget setting can be a dry subject for many but it is really important to us that our spending plans are in line with the needs of our residents and businesses.”

Below is a summary of the survey results.

  • Of those who responded 54% said the district council offered value for money.
  • 35% said the Council should prioritise spending money on social wellbeing services such as play areas and leisure facilities, closely followed by 33% saying they would prefer the Council provided basic level statutory services only.
  • Of the statutory services MDDC provides 93% said refuse and recycling provision was the most important service to them, with street cleaning, planning, homelessness provision and food safety and water sampling all coming in between 59% and 49% of responses.
  • Of the discretionary services the Council provides 69% said parks, play areas and open spaces is a service they would most like to see protected, followed by town centre regeneration at 56%.
  • When given a choice between the level of service provision provided and increasing income 49% said they would favour the protection of services, even if this means an increase in council tax and charges because of central funding reductions. 10% said they would rather see a reduction in the level of service to keep council tax rises and charges at a minimum.
  • Respondents showed a clear preference for generating additional income from commercial properties (52%) and leisure facilities (50%), rather than through car parking (25%) or refuse/recycling collections (20%).

The combined consultation responses will now be used to ensure that key service budget decisions are mapped against how our customers want us to prioritise where we allocate our scarce financial resources. These budget discussions will take place at the Council’s Policy Development Groups and Cabinet meetings held in January and February.