Council Tax Frozen For Ninth Year In A Row
Residents will not pay any more for Mansfield District Council services in 2018/19 after councillors voted to freeze Council Tax for the ninth consecutive year at a meeting on Wednesday 24 January.
The council needed to find £3.9m of savings to balance the budget for the 2018/2019 financial year. the shortfall is mainly due to the continued cuts in Government grants, which by 2019/2020 will have seen the district council dealt a 62% reduction in central government funding since 2010 - from £10.3m in 2010 to £4m in 2020.
The council also faces significant cuts to the level of grant made available through the New Homes Bonus, as central government has made changes to the way in which the grant is made available to local authorities. As a result the council has seen its grants reduce from £273,000 in 2017/2018 to £13,000.
The majority of savings will be achieved through the council's Transformation Plan, which aims to deliver £8.3m worth of savings over the next four years. Within the budget, £630,000 has been included to enable the council to deliver its Transformation Plan.
The budget for 2018/19 includes £1.5m for work at Walkden Street car park, and a sum of £100,000 has been set aside for part of the process involved in adopting the council’s Local Plan, which is currently being prepared. This is a statutory requirement.
The majority of fees and charges have not increased but where increases have been made 2% has been used in most cases, in line with inflation.
Planning fees, which are set by the Government and not by Mansfield District Council, will rise by 20% - this is the first rise since 2013. The increase is designed to allow planning departments to expand, which will in turn speed up the planning process.
The council’s Capital Programme includes £55m, which will be used to purchase further investment properties over the next four years to generate additional income to replace lost government funding and help to balance the council’s overall budget.
The budget and proposed capital programme are developed in line with the council's priorities of a thriving, vibrant and sustainable district; strong, safe and resilient communities and a clean and welcoming environment along with the council's vision to maintain a safe and caring district where everyone can succeed.
Cllr Sutcliffe thanked the Finance team, Corporate Leadership Team, and members of Overview and Scrutiny 3 for their work on the budget in very challenging circumstances.
He described the budget as ambitious, innovative and prudent and said it took risk into consideration. He said the budget aimed to assist the needy and vulnerable while encouraging businesses to flourish.
He added the council was acknowledged by many other authorities for being outward-thinking in very challenging financial circumstances and must continue to be at the forefront of pioneering ideas for the benefit of residents.
“We are determined to continue our ambition for a more prosperous and inviting district for our residents and visitors. We will be investing in new acquisitions, the income generated from which will be used to support services for the benefit of our residents."
He also mentioned the many events held in the town centre which had attracted crowds from far and wide and said money had been included in the budget for further events in the coming year.
Cllr Sutcliffe said the council was helping the retail sector in every way possible including keeping car parking charges the same or making them more user-friendly for shoppers.
He also encouraged people to shop in Mansfield and district to help preserve local retail businesses.
“When you think ‘where can I visit?’ think local and retain the wealth in our district. This is our town, our district, feel proud of it and let this budget be the positive message to pass to all our residents.”
The total Council Tax for Mansfield District residents will be formalised on 6 March when the precepts for Nottinghamshire County Council, Notts Police and Crime Commissioner, Notts Fire Authority and Warsop Parish Council (for Warsop residents) are added to the total bill. These precepts are set by each organisation, not Mansfield District Council.
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