Putting U in the budget is the council’s aim, with local people being given the chance to help shape the authority’s spending plans over the next four years. The council is working on its Corporate Plan, which will set out the council’s priorities for 2012-2016 and wants to make sure it focuses both money and resources on the areas that matter most to residents. Local people can now have their say either online at www.thanet.gov.uk/budget or by filling in a copy of the survey. Copies are available at all libraries and council offices and have also been sent out to around 500 local groups and organisations. The survey can also be filled out in the Thanet Times on Tuesday 13 December and in the KM Thanet Extra on Wednesday 14 December. A total of 3,000 properties, selected at random, will also have the survey sent directly to them to fill in. Last year’s budget consultation showed that local people’s top three priority services were: ● Waste and recycling collections ● Crime reduction and community safety ● Street cleansing As a result, these areas were protected from budget cuts as part of the 2011/12 budget process. This year’s survey looks at which council services residents use, the places they have visited, how satisfied they are with certain services and how the council could save money in the future. The council already has to save £1.5 million in its 2012/13 budget, for which draft proposals have just been published. It is expected that the council will need to make even more savings over the next three years to balance the books. Cllr. Martin Wise, Cabinet Member for Performance, said: “This year, more than ever, we want to put you in the budget. With cuts to our government grant and our income, the council is facing the toughest time it’s ever known, along with all other public sector organisations. Balancing the budget in these circumstances is extremely difficult, but it’s something we’re committed to doing. To do that, we need your help, as we need to know which services are priorities for you, as that’s where our focus and our money should be targeted. This is your chance to tell us which services matter most to you.” Responses need to be submitted to the council by Thursday 5 January 2012. Hard copies of surveys should be returned to FREEPOST SEA8273, Consultation, Thanet District Council, PO Box 9, Margate, CT9 1XZ.