Council leader Ric Metcalfe 'understands concerns' over Lincoln budget cuts
City of Lincoln Council leader Ric Metcalfe says he understands people's concerns over the possible axing of services including Lincoln's urban rangers.
A final decision will be taken on March 25 on proposals to save nearly £1 million from the city council budget.
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The council has to find the savings in the coming financial year with the figure rising to £3 million by 2017/18 in the face of drastically reduced Government funding.
The ruling executive will consider proposals to withdraw the urban ranger and commons warden services and close its sports development service.
A petition to save the urban rangers signed by 1,200 people was presented to members of the policy scrutiny committee on March 20.
And, as exclusively reported last night on this website, the committee recommended to the executive that the closure proposals should be rejected.
Members also said the executive should reconsider the idea of a joint urban ranger and commons warden service to provide some kind of cover for the city's open spaces.
Councillor Metcalfe said in a press release issued this afternoon: "We understand people's concerns about the closure of any service and these are difficult decisions for everyone.
"However, the reality is that we have been put in a position where it just isn't financially viable for us to continue to provide all the services we would like to at the level the people of Lincoln deserve.
"Reluctantly therefore, after a thorough reappraisal of all our services we are faced with considering these decisions in order to make the council financially sustainable for the future.
"We believe the leisure and sports service area is one where we can work with other partners and the many organisations that already exist in the city to maintain and develop provision that is accessible to everyone in the city."
Withdrawal of the urban rangers would save £383,000 over the next five years with a further saving of £157,000 from scrapping the commons wardens service.
The council hopes a number of organisations and volunteers would come forward to help monitor the city's open spaces if the closure goes ahead.
Policy scrutiny members accepted the proposal to close the sports development service with a saving of £400,000.