COVID-19 continues to be a problem for Wokingham borough and the council leader warned that there is no short-term fix to battling the virus.
Cllr John Halsall told a virtual meeting of the council, on Thursday, September 17, that “we hoped that it would be short term and then a solution would be found. This is not the case.
“During the emergency, we should remember that though our cases have been low, some have very sadly died, and others been very ill.”
Wokingham Borough Council, he said, had changed the way it had worked, supporting residents and ensuring that services ran as normal as far as possible.
“While this was expensive financially, it was eminently doable in the short term and I believe we did the right thing,” he said.
However, while the pandemic endures it will cause a problem for the council’s finances, which are “now very strained”.
“Not only do we have to recover the cost of what we did earlier in the year, but from a lower income base than we had had in the past,” he said. “We also have to confront the cost of expanded services.”
Examples of reduced revenue included car parks and leisure centres, while expenditure on adult and children’s services will increase.
“In confronting 2021/22 we will have to be more imaginative and more commercial. We may not be able to achieve all the aspirations that we have had in the short term and delay implementation of projects,” he said.
“This will be the debate of many months to come and it is somewhat dependent upon the length of the emergency and the extent of government intervention. “
He concluded: “Please follow the government guidelines for physical hygiene – ie wash your hands – social distancing at all times and cover your face when required to.
“It saves lives.”