X marks the spot for extra Buckingham area community cash

Residentsin the 36 parishes that make up the Buckingham Local Area will get an extra vote this year – but not to elect politicians. Their votes will decide whichcommunity projects they want funded.

Buckinghamshire County Council’s Buckingham Local Area Forum (LAF) has £10,000 in its local priorities fund, and for the first time is inviting residents to cast their votes to say how theywant some of their council tax spent.

The ‘Buckingham Decides’ ballot will launch on 1st September 2015, but before it does, the LAF needs six projects to put to residents’ votes. Sofrom 24th June it is inviting local community groups to submit project bids.

County Councillor Warren Whyte, who chairs the LAF, said: “There are 36 parishes in the Buckingham Local area and we want to enable residents in north Bucks to influence how the local area budget is spent. The Local Area Forum is doing great work on local area priorities but with a project like this, which is a first for the area, we wanted to involve residents more with how the County Council allocates its funding to meet specific local needs.”

Bids to be among the six chosen projects must be with the LAF by Friday 31st July. Chosen projects must directly benefit residents in the wider Buckingham Area.

The project – the first time the Buckingham area has been involved in community budgeting – will give residents of all ages the opportunity to have a say in how their money is spent.

Voting forms, available in schools, supermarkets, community centresand libraries from the end of August,will let residentschoose their favourite projects in order of preference and post them in familiar black ballot boxes, or vote online.

The two projects that win the most votes will get £3,000 each, the next two most popular will receive £1,500 each, while the remaining two will each receive £500.

More information about Buckingham Decides, including the criteria for submitting an application to take part can be found at www.buckscc.gov.uk/buckinghamdecides or by emailing locality-services@buckscc.gov.uk