Consultation on budget proposals to keep council tax low and protect services resident value
Approved by Cabinet last night (12 November), a £5, or 10p per week, average increase proposed for the borough council part of the council tax for 2020/21 is likely to make it the lowest of the districts in Hampshire, and most of the rest of the country, again.
Services that residents value – like weekly bin collections, community safety patrols and ongoing support for communities and vulnerable residents – are funded as part of plans for a balanced budget over the next year.
Ensuring Basingstoke and Deane continues to be a great place to live and work is also the key focus.
An additional £100,000 is proposed to increase community safety patrols to help tackle local issues, such as antisocial behaviour. Plans also include investing in a new scheme for councillors to support more small-scale projects in their communities.
As well as a small increase in council tax, proposals to balance the budget include a 3% average increase in fees and charges to help pay for the costs of these services without putting the burden on council tax payers. This includes increasing Sunday parking charges, like other operators, in council owned car parks in line with weekdays and Saturdays.
To target support for the Top of the Town, free parking for the first hour has been kept in Albert Yard, Castons Yard, Feathers Yard and Jacobs Yard car parks.
Over the last 11 years £13.7 million in savings have been made without cutting services, with the borough council continuing to look at how it can run more efficiently.
Further savings of £1.42 million have been identified in 2020/21, increasing to £1.82 million by 2023/24.
Executive Director of Finance and Resources Sue Cuerden said: “Although the council has a history of strong financial management, we have some tough challenges ahead of us with reductions in funding and rising costs and increasing demand for our services so it is important that we look at opportunities to address funding gaps now and in the future.
“Each year the council is required to set a balanced budget and these proposals sets out how the council plans to do this. We would like to hear from residents, businesses and groups across the borough to help Cabinet shape the final proposals.”
Feedback from the consultation, that runs until Wednesday 1 January at www.basingstoke.gov.uk/priorities, will be considered before final decisions about the budget are taken at a Council meeting in February.