Additional investment in services residents value as budget proposals approved by councillors
Approved by Council on Monday (28 February), a £5 a year, or 10p per week, average increase for the borough council part of council tax for 2022/23 was agreed. This is likely to make the borough one of the lowest districts for council tax in Hampshire and most of the rest of the country.
The budget includes additional funding for frontline services such as waste collections, grass and hedge cutting, maintenance of the borough’s green open spaces, housing and homelessness support and help for residents submitting planning applications, as well as making it easier to contact the council.
To support the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and to help shape the future of the borough, the budget keeps previous commitments to additional funding for the council’s key priorities, including economic recovery and initiatives to meet the borough’s challenging climate change targets.
Alongside this, councillors approved the capital budget for 2022/23 to 2025/26 which will see £132 million of investment in borough-wide projects such as improvements to play areas, allotments and sports and community facilities, disabled facilities grants and infrastructure for the Manydown development. To help fund services in the future, the council will also continue to look for new investment opportunities to raise additional income.
To help pay for services, as well as a small increase in council tax, a 3% average increase in fees and charges will help to pay for the costs of certain services used occasionally by residents.
Following public consultation on draft budget proposals in December 2021, a number of changes have been made. This includes keeping a free rat and mice pest control service for residents on means tested benefits and supporting a number of community events and community organisations for an extra year to allow organisers to investigate alternative funding.
Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance and Property Cllr John Izett said: “By taking the hard decisions early in the pandemic and making operational savings, this council is in a strong financial position to invest in the borough and the services we provide for our residents.
“As well as providing additional investment to employ more staff to improve the services we deliver, we are able to plan for the future and invest in our priorities including £2 million for climate change measures, £1 million to support economic recovery for local businesses and £25 million for roads and infrastructure to serve the new homes at Manydown. This budget also funds our ambitious plans for a revitalised town centre and redevelopment of the leisure park, with £3.9 million of investment to maintain the Aquadrome while we develop plans for a modernised facility.
“There are still many uncertainties ahead of us. With high demand and the costs of delivering our services continuing to rise, it is important that we continue to take a balanced approach to funding our services by increasing our charges proportionately while remaining a low cost council.”
For more information about the budget, visit www.basingstoke.gov.uk/budget2022