A COALITION administration with members from all groups and parties is being suggested as the way forward.

Next Tuesday, February 12, the Conservative/Independent cabinet will be meeting to set their budget.

Their proposals could see the Council Tax hiked up by 9.5 per-cent and a myriad of cuts suggested as the authority looks to save nearly £12 million next year

The budget will be discussed at the next Full Council meeting on February 21.

In the corridors of county hall there are already rumblings that the ruling group will not get the votes needed to pass the budget.

Councillor Liam Fitzpatrick (Independent – Tal-y-Bont on Usk) believes that with a new chief executive, Dr Caroline Turner,  taking the helm on February 25  now is the time for radical solutions.

Cllr Fitzpatrick has written an open letter to all councillors proposing change.

He said that he found the draft budget: “not only perplexing but very worrying for my residents .”

Cllr Fitzpatrick said: “As you probably guessed I’m voting against it. But I think you need to know the reasons why .

“I’m really not having it that it’s all the Labour government’s fault In Cardiff, nor  that it’s the Conservatives party’s fault in Westminster.

“It’s not pass the parcel just because you’re in a fix. Private business has to cut its coat according to its cloth – Powys is no exception.

“Most importantly if it was poor decision making before this cabinet.

“You have to place that responsibility on some of your present cabinet members who have been in cabinets before and must also take collective responsibility for their previous actions.”

Cllr Fitzpatrick pointed out that funding for crisis hit Children’s Services has risen to £24 million and with the stark admission from the new head of service (Jan Coles)  of the need  to “start again..“

Cllr Fitzpatrick also looks at problems in education with 92 per-cent of the school budgets in deficit, major angst about breakfast clubs and additional learning needs.

Cllr Fitzpatrick added: “Residents can’t afford this to pay extortionate amounts for failing services whilst having their basic services cut and disabled people being charged for parking for example.

“I could spend the whole day giving you a myriad of examples where they are annoyed and at the end of their tether with your proposals . 

“However- there is a bright side. With the arrival of a new CEO there are opportunities for immediate change and they should be taken.

“A new CEO and a new cabinet would I feel be welcomed by one and all and of course a new budget .

“Your Cabinet just isn’t working – it’s time for a new approach and new people to look at Powys from all parties or no parties.

“Then and only then can we begin to restore confidence in our county and in our council.”