Council chiefs in Calderdale have launched a £25,000 consultation – to ask the public how to save money.
Between 2010 and 2017 Calderdale Council will have lost £86.2 million from its budget and councillors want to know what people’s priorities are.
The council is so determined to reach as many people as possible it plans to run paid-for adverts on Facebook and Twitter.
It has also created an online ‘budget simulator’ where people can try their hand at managing Calderdale’s £220.54 million annual budget.
A slide rule on the simulator shows what impact cuts would have on services.
People can even send the council a postcard – by freepost – with their “big idea” to save money.
Previous consultation meetings organised by the council have been poorly attended and this time councillors want to ensure more people have their say.
Clr Simon Young, the council’s Cabinet member responsible for engagement, admitted that some previous consultation meetings “completely bombed” and now the council was going to the people not vice versa.
“This is one of the biggest consultations this council has ever done and we are looking at modern ways of engaging with people,” he said. “More than half the population of Calderdale is on Facebook for example.
“We have also launched an interactive budget simulator where people can get involved.”
The consultation runs until October 31 and gone are the traditional meetings, with council teams going out to join in community events instead.
One of the events they will attend is the Norland Scarecrow Festival while another is a family fun day at West View Park in Halifax.
“We want to engage with people who wouldn’t necessarily come to meetings,” said Clr Young.
Council leader Clr Tim Swift said people’s priorities may have changed since the council’s last budget consultation in 2010.
“The world has moved on since 2010,” he said. “The consultation was a bit heavy and very paper based last time.
“This time we will have talks and presentations across the borough as well as online tools. We want to find out what people want from the council.”
To get involved, click here or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.