Proposals for a borough council budget, that protects services that residents value most while keeping council tax low, have been agreed for consultation.
Approved by Cabinet on the 10th November, a £5, or 10p per week, average increase proposed for the borough council part of the council tax for 2021/22 is likely to make it one of the lowest of the districts in Hampshire, and most of the rest of the country, again.
Despite this, the council still has one of the highest spend per heads of districts in England and the highest of districts in Hampshire. This is despite rising costs and demand for services and a huge reduction in government funding.
Like many others across the country, the council’s budget has also been put under further pressure as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic with falling income and extra costs to provide support during this unprecedented time.
Maintaining services that residents value, including weekly bin collections, community safety patrols and keeping areas looking their best, are funded as part of proposals to balance the budget next year.
This includes previous commitments for additional funding to increase community safety patrols and a new scheme for councillors to support small-scale projects in their communities, which were delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
To help fund services, as well as a small increase in council tax, 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 is proposed.
Over the last 11 years £15.1 million in savings have been made while protecting services, with the borough council continuing to look at how it can run more efficiently.
Feedback from the consultation, that runs until 3 January 2021 at www.basingstoke.gov.uk/budget2020, will be considered before final decisions about the budget are taken at a meeting of Council on 25 February 2021.
Residents are encouraged to share their views by taking part in the consultation.