Taxpayers will not have to fill waste contract budget hole, Cheltenham Borough Council bosses say
TAXPAYERS will not foot the bill after a deal with the University of Gloucestershire was stopped.
A contract between the university and waste firm Printwaste to collect its rubbish had been subcontracted out to Cheltenham Borough Council.
The authority had used its own waste operator, Ubico, to carry out the work.
But when the contract was not renewed between the university and Printwaste, there had been worries about how the £50,000 loss in income for the council every year would be now filled.
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Initially it had been thought by some councillors that the borough's residents would bear the brunt of the loss.
But the council's finance officers said they had now been able to find savings elsewhere in the budget.
Councillor John Rawson (LD, St Peter's), cabinet member for finance, said the loss in income had been factored into the equation when the authority set its budget last Friday.
He said the authority was continually looking at ways it could save money.
And he said, as a result, officers had been able to bridge the gap in funds.
He added: "We wanted to set a realistic budget and, therefore, we reduced our incomes figures in the coming year's budget to take account of the loss of the university trade waste contract. However, we never stop looking for cost savings.
"I am glad to say that other savings amounting to £62,000 have now been identified in the trade waste budget. This means that overall there will be no loss to the taxpayer."
Questions had been asked by members about what the loss of contract would mean for the council's financial projections at the meeting last week.
Councillor Andrew Chard (C, Leckhampton) asked about the initial budget hole when the council set its plans for 2013/14.
And he asked for clarification on the numbers but was not told the hole had been filled with cash from elsewhere on the day.
After hearing the news, Mr Chard it was important to ensure that residents were never left picking up the bills.
He added: "I am delighted to hear that the taxpayer will not be paying for this. I welcome this. We must strive to always protect taxpayers against loss of business that is not the fault of the tax payer."