Could budget cuts mean charges for brown bin waste and disabled parking bays?

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Fife councillors are studying a list of options as they prepare to cover an £85m shortfall.

The budget, which will be announced later than usual due to the General Election, is expected to have a lot of cuts or additional charges to make up the shortfall.

Council officers have sent a list of options to the administration to consider.

The long list is part of the process, and many of the proposals will not be sanctioned when councillors meet to finalise their buidget

But, options include a £35 charge for brown bin collection, which is expected to bring in £1m over three years, plus rail subsidy for Fife commuters removed, with a saving of £640,000 over the next five years.

The report stated: “There will be a challenge to this proposal from significant number of current North East Fife users. This would not remove rail travel as an option for those over 60 and those with disabilities, it would simply remove the subsidy provided on the Fife-part of any journey.”

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Proposals for charging for implementing and the upkeep of disabled parking bays have also been put forward. It currently costs the council £150 to put in a disabled parking bay – officers have suggested a charge of £10, noting: “The space does not guarantee parking for an individual as it is available for anyone who has a blue badge.”

This could result in one homeowner paying for a disabled space to be put in, with no guarantee that they will have access to it.

Other options include upgrading the council website so more services can be online, and stopping the cleaning of schools on in-service days, reducing the number of hours cleaning staff would work – and be paid for.

Keith Winter, executive director, enterprise and enterprise, said: “As with every year, these are potential savings options for political groups to consider before politicians publish their final budget proposals. No decisions have yet been made.

“We are fully committed to ensuring that Fife is a fair region. Financial decisions and policy reflect our work to reduce poverty to improve the lives of everyone in Fife.

“All services are expected to put forward potential savings options and we are still discussing the implications of these. Councillors will decide early 2020 which, if any, of those potential savings they may want to take.

“Unfortunately, there’s no let-up in the financial challenge facing councils and all services have been asked to plan for future savings.”