Lib Dem Councillors in B&NES are calling for funding earmarked for a possible 2016 Mayoral election to be reallocated to support community services.
The Council budget of 2016-2017 included the sum of £180,000 to cover the costs of the referendum on a directly elected Mayor.
It also included a £180,000 to cover the costs of a Mayoral election, had the referendum results favoured the Mayoral system.
Councillor Andrew Furse (Kingsmead), who is the Lib Dem spokesperson on finance, commented: “The costs of the Mayoral referendum and the potential election were included in the 2016-2017 Council budget as one-off allocations from the Council’s ‘financial planning reserve’.
“Clearly, had the election fund been needed, reserves would still have been considered adequate. So, rather than simply reabsorbing this £180,000 into reserves, the Cabinet has the opportunity to reallocate it to support some of the services which are facing cuts.”
“We have been particularly concerned about the cuts to public health services approved by the Conservatives.
“As an example, £180,000 would be enough to reverse the cuts to sexual health services, which includes the HIV support service and freely available chlamydia screening, for three years or more.”
Lib Dem Group Leader, Councillor Dine Romero (Southdown, Lib Dem), added: “At the very least, this sum of money could be made available to as transitional funding to help local services move towards new ways of provision.
“We are calling on the Conservatives to be transparent about what will happen to this fund and not simply to bank it.”