Meeting reveals more about cuts

MORE details have emerged of a swathe of cuts and cost saving measures as Rother sets its budget.

The council is facing an £8.2 million shortfall and a 28 percent reduction in its Government grant over the next two years.

It faces the biggest shake-up in living memory.

The council will lose staff from voluntary redundancies but is recommending that there be no compulsory redundancies.

Rother’s director of resources Malcolm Johnston said: “We are going to lose a significant number of staff, for we do have to make reductions.

“Rather than cutting services we are looking at how we can do things differently.”

Staffing levels in Rother’s planning department will fall from eight to five through retirement and re-deployment.

There are proposals to reduce the Rye marketing grant and regeneration grants while the council’s pest control service is looking at making savings of £50,000 by charging more or reducing expenditure.

The council plans to let-out its Beeching Road offices in Bexhill and cut its budget for Home Energy Efficiency by £20,000.

What has also become clear is the extent of joint working with other councils in the area such as Hastings and Wealden.

Rother’s legal services will be managed by Wealden Council while the parks maintenance contract will be amalgamated with Hastings.

Human resources will be shared between Rother and Wealden with Wealden dealing with personnel issues and Rother handling training and development.

There are plans for a single joint waste collection contract for Rother, Wealden, Eastbourne and Hastings.

Mr Johnston, addressing the recent Annual Rye Town Meeting, said: “We are using some reserves. The onus is on us to make sure we continue to deliver services.

“I don’t underestimate the scale of that challenge.”