Wellingborough Council is looking at ways to make up a £750,000 shortfall to balance the books next year.
A budget requirement of just over £9.35 million is needed to provide the same level of council services from next April, but government grants and council tax will only bring in £8.6 million. A special meeting of the council's resources committee next Monday will discuss a list of possibilities to find the extra money.
Suggestions include reducing stationery and training budgets to reflect there are fewer employees, which could bring in nearly £35,000 of savings, and introducing vending machines rather than offering free drinks at meetings, which could save another £1,500. A further restructure of the council's management could also be looked at, potentially saving around £60,000.
Ways to bring in extra income will also be considered, including charging for advertising in the multi-storey car park (potential income of up to £8,000), allowing external organisations to hire out council meeting rooms (£1,800), and increasing charges at Glamis Hall day centre by £1, and transport by 50p, which could generate just under £30,000.
Council leader Cllr Paul Bell said: "We have already identified more than £5million of savings but even taking those into account our expenditure at the moment is £750,000 more than the £8.6million we will have available next year. Clearly we have to find this money quickly as we have to balance the books. Councillors and employees have thought long and hard about ways we can do this, and what we have now is a list of proposals for the resources committee to discuss, and the public to comment on. Some services may end up being delivered differently, but councillors were keen that a change in standards should be a last resort as we try and find the money, so the majority of the suggestions focus on behind-the-scenes savings and raising income."
A final list of savings proposals will be available for public consultation from the end of December. The information will be available on the council's website or by picking up leaflets from council receptions. Public meetings will also take place and organisations will be written to for their opinions. The consultation will run until the end of January. The resources committee will approve final recommendations at a meeting on 22 February and the full council will approve the budget on 1 March.