An online survey has been launched and a public meeting arranged for Tuesday December 13 at 6pm for residents to give their views.
The consultations follow new figures which reveal that this year alone, increased costs due to higher energy bills, pay and general inflation means the council is likely to overspend by £3.0 million, equivalent to 14% of its £21.3 million budget.
The projected budget gap then rises to £4.2 million in 2023/24 and could reach more than £9 million by 2026/27.
This challenge, however, also provides the opportunity for a fresh look at how services are provided to ensure they are delivering all they can for communities and the local economy.
The council has embarked on a project which will examine every area of its budget and match resources more closely with priorities to find the savings it needs to make to balance the books.
Residents are now being invited to find out more and have their say through the public meeting and survey.
Councillor Anne Whitehead, cabinet member with responsibility for finance, said: “The council’s financial position is perilous and one which is shared across the whole of local government.
“Balancing the budget in both the short and the medium term will be a tough task. We face a number of difficult but key decisions as part of this year’s budget and over the coming financial years that will affect the manner in which we deliver our services.
“Although we will have to accept that we will no longer be able to do everything we currently do, we are absolutely committed to providing value for money services and delivering our main priorities.
“To help us make the right decisions, the views of our communities will be vital to make sure we are targeting resources to the areas of most benefit and impact.”
To put the financial situation in context, although Lancaster City Council collects council tax, it keeps around 12% (an average of £4.65 a week or £241.95 a year) to fund services, with the vast majority going to Lancashire County Council (73%), Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner (11%) and Lancashire Combined Fire Authority (4%).
People can get involved by sharing their ideas and views on how the council's resources could be best used in a short online survey at Lancaster.gov.uk/budget-survey. The survey closes on Friday December 16.
Anyone without access to the internet can pick up a paper copy of the survey from the town halls in Lancaster and Morecambe between 9am and 1pm, Monday-Friday.
The public briefing will take place on Tuesday December 13 from 6pm to 7pm. To register to attend visit Lancaster.gov.uk/budget-briefing.
Last updated: 06 December 2022