A CASH-STRAPPED council plans to spend over £100,000 on employing an officer to help find areas where the it can cut back on its spending – including a further £6m of efficiency savings.

Next week, Gwynedd’s cabinet will be asked to release £104,747 to fund a project manager over a two year period, whose brief will be to find areas where the council can cut its cloth.

According to the report, the post holder will also be responsible for setting-up the authority’s new leisure company.

Gwynedd council currently runs 12 leisure centres – Bala, Bangor, Arfon Leisure and Tennis Centre, two in Caernarfon, Porthmadog, Tywyn, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Pwllheli, Dolgellau, Barmouth, Bethesda and Penygroes – at a cost of almost £5m a year.

It currently subsidises the service to the tune of almost £1.9m, with around £3.1m being generated through admission and membership fees.

But the authority feels that the new company will allow it to make savings of around £585,000 a year – without having an affect on its leisure provision, or staff. T

he new project manager will be expected to help realise a further £6m of efficiency schemes while also developing more alternative models such as the new leisure company. T

he report notes: “In light of the retirement of the Savings Programme Leader, who had been leading on the savings programme over recent years, more responsibility will be placed on Senior Officers within individual Departments to carry out this work.

“Given the magnitude of the financial challenge ahead and the need for more savings with a smaller workforce, it is recommended that this role is necessary. The officer in question for this role is experienced in the field of developing and implementing savings schemes.

“Handling this work will be challenging, but will be possible provided support is given to manage the programme. However, without this support, fulfilling this requirement will be more or less impossible.

“Without the investment, another resource would have to be found within the Council to offer support to the programme at the expense of other activities.”

The report will be discussed by Gwynedd Council’s Cabinet when it meets in Caernarfon on Tuesday.