The Portfolio Holder for Corporate Resources, presented the draft budget proposals considered by the Executive on 8 January, 2019 and as circulated with the agenda for the meeting.
The initial financial plan proposals 2019/20 to 2021/22 had been published for comment. The proposals included draft revenue and capital budgets for the three years 2019/20 to 2021/22. The main issues taken into account are:
· The level of council tax and the proposal to increase it by £5 or 3.03%.
· Reducing central funding and the need to make ongoing efficiencies using invest to save where possible.
· Continuing to support housing whilst backing business and bringing people and organisations together for local neighbourhood planning.
· Infrastructure delivery plan investment funded by community infrastructure levy (CIL) and external sources where available.
· Town centre investment in infrastructure and employment.
· The level of reserves necessary for the council.
The Portfolio Holder advised the Council has a balanced budget and is in a resilient position moving into 2019/2020, despite the financial issues common to all local authorities. These included the decrease in the New Homes Bonus, the loss central Government’s Revenue Support Grant, changes to the Business rate retention; and the additional cost to the Council of business rates for Council car parks. However, the Council has a balanced budget, and a detailed budget report would be presented to the committee on 4 February, 2019.
In response to Councillors’ questions the Portfolio Holder confirmed that: a list of proposed savings and cost reductions would be presented with the budget proposals at the next meeting; the budget included the annual Rural Aid Fund; additional means of savings would continue leading to 2021; the delivery of the Marsh Barton railway station was an important issue and the amount and timing for a financial contribution form the Council was unknown, but would be dealt with when required; there was no budget allocation at present for increased dog wardens; there was no fee increase for car parking permits last year. Small parking increases are proposed for this year’s budget but reductions in certain car parks for charges up to one hour. There has also been an increase in business rates relating to car parking; the cost of services was greater than the income from Council Tax; a £5 increase in the green bin collection service was proposed. Residents in receipt of benefits would receive a reduction on this increase; the annual Capital Expenditure would vary from year to year depending on the number and cost of projects; £160,000 had been spent on Newton Abbot Leisure Centre during 2018/19; as part of the Council’s Leisure Strategy further improvements would be made to leisure facilities.
RESOLVED - That Council approve the council tax base of 49,219 for 2019/20 at set out in Appendix 2 circulated with the agenda for the meeting.