Residents were today urged to have their say on £19 million of planned budget cuts – as council chiefs insisted they are willing to change their proposals based on the results of a survey.
Walsall Council will have to reduce its budget by £18.9 million next year and save £104 million over the next five years as Government funding will fall.
Councillor Ian Shires, cabinet member for communities and partnerships, said: “We want this consultation to be open and we’ll carry on listening carefully to what people are saying.
“We listened last year and made some key changes to the budget and this year we are giving people an even bigger say.”
Finance chief Councillor Chris Towe has revealed there will be 332 job losses in total in the 2014/15 budget – of which 55 posts are already vacant.
There have been 450 redundancies in the past four years.
Some 97 posts will be lost in social care – of which 22 are already vacant – while 88 will go in children’s services, with seven of those already vacant.
The resources department, which covers finance and IT, will see 72 jobs lost, with 14 of those already vacant, and 57 jobs will be slashed from the neighbourhoods department, nine of which are vacant. Eighteen posts will go in regeneration – three of these are vacant.
Some £5m will be slashed from the children’s services budget. The department came under fire last year when Ofsted judged safeguarding services and its capacity to improve as inadequate – though it has since improved to be adequate.
Leader Councillor Mike Bird said: “As I’ve stated, this is the biggest consultation we’ve undertaken and it’s very important for people to have their say.
“To repeat, we’ve pledged to minimise the effect on frontline services which includes things like keeping weekly bin collections, keeping our libraries and our 18 children centres open and we want to maintain our street cleansing services.
“We’ve said before we’re working hard to make Walsall a better place for everyone. It is clear there will be less money, fewer people and so we’ll be able to do less. We’ll make the best of what we’ve got.”