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Cotswold Cabinet Sets Out Budget Proposals
ďA Prudent Budget Strategy, but with Good News for Cotswold ResidentsĒ
That was the view of Cotswold District Council Leader, Lynden Stowe, when setting out his budget proposals for the coming financial year.
Cotswold District Councilís Cabinet met on 19th November to consider the draft Medium Term Financial Plan and Budget Strategy for 2010/11.
Despite experiencing unprecedented financial pressures because of reduced Government grant and other income, and lower returns on investments, prudent action by the Council has enabled a package of proposals to be developed which will have a positive impact on the residents of the District. Some of the key elements are as follows:-
(i) An increase in the District Council share of the council tax by 2.5% - this represents an increase of £3.53 per year or just under 7p per week for the average band D council tax payer. This increase is lower than the rise in the current year, and lower than the 3.5% figure that had been envisaged for 2010/11, and seeks to acknowledge the need to keep the council tax increase to a minimum in the current economic climate.
(ii) A top-up of the Community Projects Fund of £100,000 which, it is hoped, will be of particular assistance to town and parish councils to maintain and improve community halls, and provide recreational facilities for young people.
(iii) A further £500,000 to help the Council contribute towards the costs of schemes that have the potential of genuinely alleviating flood risk and damage. We will look to build on a number of local resilience measures already put in place, and seek to maximise benefits by working in partnership with organisations such as DEFRA, the Environment Agency, the County Council and town and parish councils, who could also provide financial assistance.
(iv) Continued support for disabled facilities grants and loans, and continued grant funding to the Citizens Advice Bureau. We acknowledge the important role played by the Bureau, helping local people during the current recession.
Councillor Stowe added:
"We also have some exciting and positive news about our waste service. Not only have we already managed to achieve a fantastic rate of recycling within the District, but we have also succeeded in reducing the overall waste budget by £370,000 in 2010/11. In addition, proposals will be presented to the Cabinet in December to introduce the collection of plastics from households for recycling. This is part of a bigger and better package of waste service efficiencies being provided across the District at no additional cost to the council tax payer."
Cotswold District Councilís Cabinet is also proposing to make efficiency and service savings of almost £1 million in the coming year in a bid to reduce costs. This is on top of savings made in previous years. At the same time, the Council will seek to maximise its investment opportunities, and to ensure that adequate levels of reserves are maintained - as ever, financial prudence will be the key.
Councillor Stowe summed up:
"We understand that in the current economic climate itís important to the people of the Cotswolds to keep the council tax increase to the minimum, and we are striving to do this despite the derisory level of funding received from the government, which makes keeping our costs down even harder."
"The people of the Cotswolds also expect us to deliver value for money and thatís what weíre doing by making £4.7 million in efficiencies and savings over the next three years."
"The more money that the Council can save will mean more money to spend on crucial services and, for the future, will enable us to keep our share of council tax and limit increases in fees and charges."
The budget proposals, along with the Councilís slightly revised priorities, will be the subject of consultation with the public, the Councilís partners, and other organisations. The results of this consultation will feed directly into the budget strategy report to be considered by Council Members in January 2010.
: 24/11/2009 22:10:44
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