Council approves 2017/18 budget
The District Council has set its budget for 2017/18.
The net budget of £10,431,750, which includes efficiency savings of £1,063,000, was agreed by Full Council last night.
The budget includes plans to save a further £1,403,000 a year over the following two years by sharing more services with other councils through partnership working.
An increase of 2% in the District Council’s share of council tax was agreed. Residents in a Band D property will be paying £168.83 a year council tax for the District Council portion - this equates to less than 46 pence a day.
A modest increase in garden waste charges of £2 a year was also approved, the first increase since 2014, which results in the Forest of Dean still having the lowest annual licence price in Gloucestershire.
Councillor Richard Boyles, cabinet member for finance, asset management and performance said: “We are pleased to have frozen car parking charges for a further year and not made any reductions to our front-line services.
“Our budget has now been set for the next financial year and we are confident that it will provide the resilience needed for the Council to continue to support the local community despite the financial pressures.
“Our Government core funding (revenue support grant and target business rates income) has been reduced by almost 65%, from £6.8 million to £2.4 million a year. The Chancellor’s proposals for future years will see our revenue support grant phased out by 2020.
“In response to these challenges, we have worked tirelessly to cut costs and make savings in our budget, but we had reached the point where continuing to freeze council tax would of posed a threat to the local services that people across the district value. Our overriding responsibility had to be to protect these important services.”
Councillor Boyles added: “There will be very little room for growth in spending in the coming year. However, there will be progress in a number of directions.
“This year we will be pressing ahead with some major projects, such as the plans for the acquisition of a new depot and a property investment portfolio which will help the Council to become more self-financing. In addition we be taking a strategic approach to how leisure is provided across the district as well as aiding economic regeneration through both direct and indirect investment.
“We have set aside some money to strengthen the planning service, which will help the growth of our local economy. The Government has promised that councils will gain a bigger share of business rates income over the coming years, which is one more reason why we want to do all we can to boost economic growth.”
To view the approved 2017/18 budget report click here.