NEARLY a third of a council’s spending could be slashed under new proposals. 

Andover Town Council (ATC) is looking at slicing £94,660 from its spending for 2018-19, while still taking on new duties and projects including a grants scheme to help causes feeling the pinch of budget cuts at borough and county council level. 

However, the ATC precept, currently £20.03 a year for a Band D property, is unlikely to be dropped. 

Policy and Resources Committee chairman, Councillor Steven Hardstaff said: “If there is any extra [money coming in] it would go into the elections because we know already we are going to have a shortfall if we do go to elections, last time we would have not been able to cover it, Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) gave us a £68,000 bill.” 

ATC’s Policy and Resources Committee met last Thursday and to hear the current proposed budget is set at £336,300,but further revisions by the council suggest its spending could be cut down to £241,640, around a 28 per cent drop. 

A final plan will decided when Andover Town Council receives precept figures from Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC). 

Cllr Hardstaff added: “The thing to know is we had a motion set before us by the previous full council meeting, and policy and resources asked all committees to review budgets and make sure they were happy with accounts and make savings.” 

The budget reductions would come under categories including corporate management, events and projects and democratic representation. 
However, ATC also hopes to bring about more initiatives to run and support local services. 

Cllr Hardstaff added: “We are also in negotiations with TVBC to take over some services, such as to manage the bus stops. 

“What we are trying to do is bring more of this back locally.” 

Among plans under the draft budget, ATC also hopes to introduce a £10,000 larger grants scheme for groups using money from its reserves pot, which could potentially provide a lifeline for causes that are under threat due to budget cuts at other councils. 

Andover town mayor Katherine Bird said: “Larger grants normally come out from TVBC and Hampshire County Council who are having to make huge cuts and the most affected by this are small organisations. 

“There is a provision that what we can do is donate money to local causes and we are hoping to bring some support to Andover-based business where the benefits have to go to Andover residents. 

“Instead of getting the precept up to do it we are going to take £10,000 out of reserves to do the pilot year.” 

Other expenditure which is being factored into the council’s upcoming budget include £20,000 to go towards 2019 election costs, which Cllr Hardstaff currently estimates will be as much as £75,000 - £80,000, and £6,000 to support the defibrillator provision scheme. 

The final budget will be put forward on 11 January and go to full council for approval on 25 January. 

To view the current plans, go to meetings/agendas.