Hartlepool Borough Council launches a new initiative today to reach out to residents and explain the challenges it faces.
The project, called Your Say, Our Future aims to involve people in helping to shape and achieve the local authority’s ambitions for the future.
A series of events will be held and social media used to get people’s opinions and increase understanding about how the council works.
It says despite facing significant funding cuts it remains ambitious about improving the town.
Chief executive Gill Alexander said: “Despite the ongoing financial pressures, the council remains very ambitious for what it wants to achieve for the town.
“Your Say, Our Future is a town-wide conversation about the kind of place we want Hartlepool to be and how we can work together with local residents to achieve our shared ambitions for the town and local neighbourhoods.
“As we move forward, it is vital that we have a conversation with residents to find out what they think our priorities should be, whether they agree with our ambition, how things could be done differently and the role that they can play to ensure we utilise our shrinking resources in the most effective way.”
The first stage of the initiative will focus on explaining to people the problems facing the council, including funding cuts, and where the local authority and community can work together to save money.
Residents will be given examples of council spending where it says costs could be reduced.
The council says it spends £3.3 million to dispose of rubbish compared to just £300,000 to recycle it.
The council says it could significantly reduce costs if households recycled more rubbish and cut down on the amount of contaminated waste going in recycling bins.
Contaminated material includes pizza boxes, unwashed food jars and tins, and lids from plastic bottles or containers.
The authority says if contamination rates were reduced from 25% currently to 5%, it could save around £150,000 a year.
Last year, the authority picked up 1,832 tonnes of litter and fly-tipped waste, the same weight as 145 double-decker buses.
This financial year, the council’s government funding is £35 million less than it was in 2010-11, a cut of almost 55%.
And over the next three years it says its funding will be cut by a further £9.8m.
A third of the council’s budget, £32.8 million, is spent on adult social care for the elderly, people with learning disabilities mental health needs or drug and alcohol issues, as well as carers.
The council says if more people accessed local support services it could reduce demand on its services.
A series of roundtable events are planned as part of the Your Say, Our Future council initiative.
They are: Tuesday, July 19, 5pm, Belle Vue Community Sports Youth Centre, Kendal Road; Thursday, July 21, 10am, West View Advice and Resource Centre, Miers Avenue; Saturday, July 30, 10am, Owton Manor Community Centre, Owton Manor Lane; Tuesday, August 9, 2pm, Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Victoria Road; and Thursday, August 11, 7pm, Borough Hall, Middlegate.
To book a place at any of the events call the council on (01429) 523002 or 523003 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information, including a survey and videos, visit the council’s website at www.hartlepool.gov.uk/your-say-our-future.