Investment in street cleansing, public toilets and a renewed focus on climate change are just some of the proposals that Cabinet members are to consider when they discuss the council’s draft budget for 2020-21.
The report, which will be discussed at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday 14 January, sets out the council’s financial position for the year ahead. It identifies how the council is going to allocate £17.1 million to fund services for the year ahead (April 2020 – March 2021). This is to ensure that resources are targeted to the areas that matter most to local people.
The budget is set at the same time annually in order to set the coming year’s Council Tax for the residents of Thanet and to meet the council’s legal obligation to produce a balanced budget.
The money that is used to fund public services is made up of Council Tax receipts, income generation including from fees and charges, retained Business Rates and Government funding (including Revenue Support Grant and New Homes Bonus).
Pending publication of the Government’s final Local Government Finance Settlement 2020-21, the Fair Funding Review and review of Business Rates, coupled with historic reductions in Government funding, the report sets out that the financial backdrop to setting next year’s budget has ‘never been more uncertain’.
In order to produce a balanced budget, Cabinet members will consider an increase of £4.95 for Thanet District Council’s element of Council Tax – this equates to a weekly increase of less than 10p per week for an average Band D property.
Cabinet members will also consider a series of suggestions for income generation and efficiencies in order to achieve the savings required which are detailed in the report.
Leader of Thanet District Council, Cllr Rick Everitt said: ”Despite significant funding reductions in recent years, the council is continuing to consolidate its financial position. We now get almost no Revenue Support Grant from central government, which means we have had to deliver our services with less and less help each year. Given the real challenges that many of our residents face that is particularly difficult for this council, but we have still produced a balanced draft budget. I’d like to thank officers and members for all of their work to achieve this and for identifying savings which neither provide a need for compulsory redundancies, nor adversely impact on the priority services we provide for local people.”
Cabinet Member for Finance, Cllr Rob Yates said: “Cabinet has taken a fresh look at the council’s finances and is proposing a forward looking budget that we hope addresses the needs of the residents, whilst putting in place a plan for growth in public services. Key wins include a new Climate Change Officer, 10 new permanent staff to improve street cleansing, plans to build at least 40 new council houses, increasing Council Tax on long-term empty homes, plans to refurbish multiple public toilets and increasing the levels of recycling. We hope that this budget will be supported cross party as it aims to invest in Thanet, improve our services and best support our community for the future.”
Thanet District Council receives just 13p in every £1 of Council Tax. The remainder goes to: Kent County Council, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, Kent Fire and Rescue Service and Town/Parish Councils.
Following the Cabinet meeting, the draft budget will be presented to the Overview and Scrutiny Panel for comment on Tuesday 21 January and then go to Full Council on Thursday 6 February for final approval, before implementation from 1 April 2020.
The 2020-21 Budget and additional documents have been published here.