Council tax in Adur has provisionally been increased in a move the council’s deputy leader said was ‘disappointing’ but would ensure a balanced budget.
Adur District Council’s executive committee met last night in Shoreham to approve an increase of 1.98 per cent for 2017/18.
We have done a really good task to be able to balance the budget in these figuresNeil Parkin, leader of Adur District Council
For an average Band D home, who paid £276.93 for the district council share of the bill in 2016/17, it means an annual increase of £5.49, or 11p per week.
Angus Dunn, deputy leader of Adur council, said: “Although it is always disappointing when we have to put council tax up, in view of our financial position we don’t have much option.”
He added: “We don’t do it very often. It is quite unusual.”
The maximum amount the council can increase council tax by is two per cent.
Mr Dunn said: “The rate at which our support from government has disappeared is unprecendented.
“It is disappointing, but understandable to an extent.”
Local government funding has been significantly reduced since the spending review, according to a report issued to committee members by Sarah Gobey, chief financial officer.
The report states that the council should prepare itself for a continued reduction in government resources for another two to five years.
But Mr Dunn said the news was ‘not all doom and gloom.’
“We have done remarkably well,” he said. “We are in a really good position to take advantage of what comes along with the limited resources we do have.”
A consultation undertaken last year indicated public support for a small increase in council tax, according to the report.
It revealed that 63 per cent of respondants supported a small increase in council tax to help the council protect priority services.
Only 36 per cent of respondants preferred a continued freeze on council tax which would potentially mean a reduction of services.
Adur’s council tax benefit scheme ‘which really helps those who are less well off’ has been retained, confirmed Mr Dunn.
Neil Parkin, leader of Adur District Council, thanked the officer for compiling the report and said: “We have done a really good task to be able to balance the budget in these figures.”
He said that despite financial challenges, the council was still providing important services such as weekly bin collections, while other authorities had been forced to move to monthly collections.
The council’s strategy, formulated in September 2016, aims to ‘fundamentally change’ how the council is funded and move ‘increasingly away from government funding.’
It aims to become community funded by 2020, which means it would be reliant only on income from trading and commercial activities, council tax income and business rate income.
This means the decision regarding the annual increase has a ‘greater strategic importance’ than before, the report states.
A 3.36 per cent increase in council tax, amounting to £5 per year, has already been approved for the Police and Crime Commissioner.
According to the report, there are indications that the county council will set a 3.95 per cent increase, just under their permitted 4 per cent.
This means the overall council tax bill increase for an average band D property would be just under four per cent.
Adur’s proposed increase will be considered by the full council for approval on Thursday, February 23.
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