A COUNCIL report outlining budget proposals which would see a managerial shake-up, a council tax rise and a potential £4.4m in additional funding for Darlington was approved by councillors tonight.

A special meeting of Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet saw chief executive Ada Burns discuss plans to retire, saying the move was necessary to achieve savings of £464,000 over the next four years.

Her suggested retirement was announced as part of proposals for the next stage of its Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP), which sets out a budget from 2018 until 2022.

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Council leader Bill Dixon suggested the recently created Tees Valley Combined Authority meant Ms Burns’ current role was no longer necessary, given some of her responsibilities could be shared.

He also dismissed a suggestion that a new role of managing director should be advertised rather than given to the current director of resources, Paul Wildsmith.

Liberal Democrat Joe Kelley said: “We should be looking at different options rather than just taking the second in command and shoving him to the top. It might seem like a cosy deal, keeping it all in-house and not putting it out to consultation but it’s not seeing the bigger picture, keeping ourselves tight because we need to save money seems short sighted.”

Cllr Dixon said the potential £20,000 cost of advertising defeated the purpose of cost-cutting and the matter would go before a human resources panel.

He also cast doubt upon a £4.4m funding pot announced by the council last week, saying uncertainty around local government finance resettlement and other national matters may have an impact.

Plans for the use of the £4.4m were discussed nevertheless, with Cllr Nick Wallis telling campaigners hoping to use it to save Crown Street Library that the council would consult with the public to find out what the priorities for the town were, highlighting street cleaning and community safety.

If current proposals are approved, council tax payers will also face a 4.99 per cent hike in bills, made up of a 1.99 per cent increase from the council and a three per cent adult social care levy when it sets its annual budget next year. The plans are expected to go before the full council in the new year.