Communities are being invited to put forward their priorities for the next financial year to help Falkirk Council set its next budget in 2019/20.

A wide ranging consultation is due to start in October that will seek views of community groups, families, young people and businesses on how Falkirk Council should spend its £336m revenue budget locally.

The results of the consultation will inform elected members on where spending priorities lie across local communities prior to them taking final decision expected in February 2019.

The survey asks questions around numerous areas including current levels of services; the introduction of charges; increasing Council tax; closing facilities and various other issues.

Falkirk Council is also adopting a different approach to its budgeting process this year with services being asked to stick to realistic spending targets for each year that aim to bridge the current budget gap of more than £60m projected over the next five years.

Councillor Cecil Meiklejohn, Leader of Falkirk Council said: “Protecting and supporting the most vulnerable in our communities is the most important aspect of our work and our budgets will always prioritise this.

“We are spending £350m on services in the next year but we need to hear from communities where they want to see this spend targeted and this survey will help us be far better informed.

“We’re also taking a radical look at how services are delivered locally and aim to make it easier for customers to get to the services they actually need – especially by developing more online services that save money and fit in with the needs and residents.

“Our new five year approach to budgeting will allow us to be a great deal more robust in tackling our budget gap of more than £60m over this time period. This is recognised as a more financially sound approach.

“It is clear however we need to take far bolder decisions to manage this shortfall and plan longer term to ensure we get back on track and continue to deliver vital services in all our communities where it really matters.”

As well as the online consultation, local meetings with community groups, parent councils are also planned.

A separate consultation on housing rents for 2019/20 is currently taking place with Falkirk Council’s 16,000 tenants.