Great Yarmouth Borough Council on course to agree balanced budget and set share of council tax for 2019/20
GREAT Yarmouth Borough Council's Policy and Resources Committee has recommended for approval the authority's budget report for 2019/20, ahead of full council setting the budget and council tax on Tuesday, February 19.
While the borough council sends out the council tax bills in the borough, less than 10 per cent of the average total bill supports delivery of the borough council's services, with the rest passed to Norfolk County Council, parish councils, the Police and Fire Services.
The borough council's Band D charge remains among the lowest of all district councils in the UK, yet the council is still able to deliver a range of services, including waste and recycling collection, grounds maintenance, supporting jobs and growth, leisure centres, housing, community work, planning and licensing.
Despite financial challenges across the public sector, the report is able to recommend a balanced position for 2019/20, thanks to the council's work to operate as effectively and efficiently as possible, and identify opportunities to generate additional income.
The way local government services is funded is changing, with a greater reliance on local income sources and with major opportunities for new income linked to unlocking the borough's significant potential for economic growth and making the most of the council's existing assets.
The council's ongoing work with partners to enhance the borough as an attractive place for business investment and job-creation, and to support delivery of new homes in the right places, remains critical to helping fund vital public services and investment in public priorities.
The council continues to review proactively all of its service delivery, transforming and improving services, and to identify and deliver additional projects to operate as effectively and efficiently as possible, as well as boosting locally-generated income.
While this good work is continuing, the Local Government Finance Settlement assumes that this will be supported through a greater contribution from local communities. In line with this and previous forecasts, full council is recommended to increase the portion of council tax which supports the borough council's services by 3.2 per cent.
This equates to £5 extra on a Band D property over the course of a year. However, 68 per cent of local households are in the lowest two bands so would pay less than £3.90 extra over the course of the year for services provided by the borough council.
In addition, the most vulnerable people will continue to be protected through the Council Tax Support Scheme, which the council has decided to keep at a maximum of 91.5 per cent of council tax liability.
The budget report also proposes that two new targeted funds are set up. It is recommended that £150,000 is earmarked to mitigate one-off impacts of coast protection work and provide match funding towards coast protection schemes. It is further recommended that £100,000 be allocated towards a planned business rate relief initiative aimed at helping to bring long-term empty commercial properties back into use.