Adur District Council’s annual budget – and a council tax increase of 2,96 per cent – was unanimously approved on Thursday.
Annual spending plans from April, put forward by the ruling Conservative group, were backed by all parties with no official amendments tabled.
UKIP and Labour made comments, with UKIP leader Geoff Patmore querying whether the council tax rise should have been capped at two per cent before backing the budget ‘with a heavy heart’.
Presenting the budget, council leader Neil Parkin: “It is about unlocking the potential in our towns and villages and our people.
“We are doing this by managing our budgets well, delivering our services in spite of all the reductions in grant we are facing and, importantly to the controlling group, supporting those people who are in need, with maximum council tax benefit relief this year, which very few councils are doing now.”
A ‘pro business and growth’ agenda will see £10million invested to build an office block on the civic centre car park, helping retain 250 jobs at Focus in the district, creating a further 200 in the coming years.
The council will invest in temporary and emergency housing as well as providing financial support for partners to provide affordable housing. Public toilets and equipment in play parks will also be improved and the Shoreham Beach boardwalk will be extended.
Mr Parkin reserved praise for the heads of the council’s waste and parks teams for coming together to work on an ongoing merger of services, despite knowing ‘one of them is going to lose their job’. Labour’s Les Alden also praised officers but suggested budget provision for ensuring more engagement in a planned review of the Adur Local Plan within five years.