The Councillors will be meeting soon to start the process of preparing the Budget for the next financial year, 2013-14. After cuts in funding of 17% in 2011-12 and 11% in 2012-13 further cuts are expected in 2013-14 along with another, possibly unfunded, Council Tax Freeze.
I am not sure how well this compares with other councils but at Rochford all Councillors are able to take part in the discussions and can attempt at the very least to get items considered. In the current climate however the discussions are generally about cuts in public service or possible income generators (normally car parking). This does mean that by the time the Budget gets to Council for approval the Councillors will have discussed it already on a number of occasions albeit in informal surroundings.
The public too can have a say in what services they believe are important, or not. An online survey is conducted each year by the council and this year it can be found here. Please fill it in so your views can be heard.