As a result, it is likely that further service cuts will have to be introduced next year to bridge the funding shortfall.
A report outlining the latest available information presented to Gwynedd Council’s Executive Board anticipates that Gwynedd will receive a fourth consecutive tough financial settlement from the Assembly Government for 2008/09.
Councillor Tomos Evans, Senior Portfolio Leader for Resources on Gwynedd Council said:
“By analysing all the available evidence at the earliest possible opportunity, individual council services will be able to plan ahead in order to limit the impact of potential cuts on front line services to an absolute minimum.
“Despite the fact that no concrete information regarding Gwynedd’s share of the local government settlement for 2008/09 will be released by the Government until the end of October, all the available evidence points to yet another extremely tough year for Gwynedd.
“At present, it is anticipated that Gwynedd will have to address a funding shortfall of approximately £3.5 million rising to a ‘worst case scenario’ deficit of £7.5million.
“Whilst an element of this anticipated shortfall will be found from efficiency savings over and above the £4.5 million we have already saved during 2006/07 and 2007/08, breaching such a deficit will inevitably involve an element of service reduction.
“We are also hopeful that Gwynedd’s campaign to persuade the Government to reform elements of the funding formula will go some way towards bridging the funding gap.”
Gwynedd Council is also in the process of introducing a number of further improvements to the Council’s long term budget planning processes. These improvements include the introduction of a comprehensive Asset Management Plan to enable the Council to identify its capital requirements for a period of up to 7 years.
“Whilst the improvements we are introducing will significantly improve the Council’s long term financial management, they will not help us to overcome the underlying fact that the resources received through the local government settlement are unlikely to be enough to meet the cost of maintaining local services at their present levels,” said Gwynedd’s Strategic Director for Resources Dilwyn O Williams.
“Because of this, it is important that we have contingency plans in place should we again find ourselves receiving a financial settlement which is inadequate to maintain the current level of service, ” he added.