A £5 Council Tax increase but a freeze on parking charges are some of the Waverley Executive’s 2021/22 budget proposals to be considered by the Value for Money and Customer Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Monday 25 January.
Councillor Mark Merryweather, Portfolio Holder for Finance, Assets and Commercial Services at Waverley Borough Council, said:
“This has been a period like no other, both for the council and for our residents, and it’s not over yet. The pandemic has had devastating consequences for many in our community and placed extreme strain on council finances, which were already under pressure from government funding cuts.
“We have proposed raising Council Tax by £5 which, at 2.7%, is equivalent to 10p a week for an average Band D property. I know that many residents are struggling financially and of course we would prefer not to have to do this if at all possible: but we have not received enough of the support we need and were promised by Central Government and so we have no alternative in order to maintain our community facilities and protect service levels for our residents.”
While the council’s proposals include a further £1.3m of identified efficiency savings, the draft budget still shows a projected deficit of almost £1.2m, due to the additional costs and loss of revenue resulting from the COVID pandemic. This will need to be met by exceptional one-off drawdowns on the council’s reserves.
Despite the cost pressures, funding for the voluntary sector will be maintained, in view of the vital work they are doing to protect local communities during the pandemic. There are no proposed increases to parking charges, however, fees for many of the council’s chargeable services will rise, for example, in the areas of planning services and building control.
The committee may choose to make suggestions to the proposed budget before it is sent to the Executive Committee and Full Council to review and agree.
“We have produced a budget that we believe is fair, with no increase in parking tariffs, which maintains our grants to voluntary sector partners, and which focuses on protecting vital services and the most vulnerable in our communities.
“We look forward to receiving feedback from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.”
To view, the Overview and Scrutiny papers visit: https://modgov.waverley.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=327&MId=3489
Following the Overview and Scrutiny Committee review, the proposed budget, in its current form, may change subject to any suggestions that are put forward by the committee.
The final budget is due to be agreed at the Full Council meeting on Tuesday 23 February.