Tories say how they would spend your tax money if they were elected
BOLTON'S Tories are calling for a cleaner Bolton - and no rise in council tax - as they challenge the town's Labour leadership with a rival budget ahead of tomorrow's key finance meeting.
Cllr David Greenhalgh, leader of the Conservative group in Bolton, and deputy leader Cllr Andy Morgan have submitted the group's own budget proposal ahead of the full council meeting this evening.
In it, they call on town hall chiefs to accept the government offer to freeze council tax in exchange for a £1m grant - at odds with the current plans to raise the charge 1.48 per cent and raise £1.6 million for the coffers.
They argue that the £600,000 shortfall could be made up by asking all councillors to take a 25 per cent pay cut - raising £125,000 - and reducing the area forum and neighbourhood management budgets by £200,000.
Other measures include reducing the subsidy in the Albert Halls, including the staff canteen, and saving £50,000 on personal advisors.
Cllr Greenhalgh said he also wants the council to allocate £1 million to pay for more street cleaning and enforcement officers to make Bolton a cleaner town over the next two years.
Councillors agreed last year to axe the town's dedicated graffiti team and reduced the number of street cleaners and level of grass cutting in Bolton's public spaces, saving £638,000 in 2014/15.
Cllr Greenhalgh: "We agree with the highways investment put forward but we feel Labour have really neglected this high priority, and I think they are in denial about it.
"We receive numerous letters from residents about dog fouling and the cleanliness of the streets. It's a major issue for people."
However, they said they would support Cllr Cliff Morris' plans to spend £400,000 raising the wages of the council's lowest paid staff, and to save £3 million for the predicted cash shortfall for 2015/16.
The authority has to save £21.7m in 2014/15, and set a two year budget in February last year to deal with the challenge.
Members will consider both budgets at the full council meeting tonight, which starts at 7pm.
- Follow our live coverage of the budget meeting online tomorrow from 7pm.