South Kesteven

South Kesteven leaders agree 3.25% tax increase

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South Kesteven District Council leaders have agreed a council tax increase of 3.25% for 2019/20.

The rise equates to £5, the highest rate before a local referendum would be required.

It means the rate for an average band D property would rise from £153.62 to £158.62.

Senior councillors made the decision at a cabinet meeting where they were told the increase would bring raise an estimated £7.475 million in total.

The authority’s chief finance officer said in a report that it was “inevitable” that the budget carried “significant risk” due to the national financial situation of the public sector.

Cabinet members were keen to praise the improvements being enabled by the budget, which was renamed via vote to “A district that works for everyone delivering opportunities”.

They included the work with InvestSK and DeliverSK and the new cinema – which councillor Adam Stokes said was creating an asset and income or the town.

Council leader Councillor Matthew Lee told members he “won’t take the foot off the pedal”.

He said he wants to do “more and more and more” as a council, adding “It’s never quite good enough, this is an investment we’re going to get us through the next year.”

Councillor Helen Goral says the council’s budget showed the authority as “being able to present a fiscally responsible budget which is still able to deliver”.

“We do have a big agenda and being able to have a budget that allows us to fulfil that is important,” she said.

Councillor Nick Neilson says: “This budget offers us quite a fantastic journey over the next four years which is going to be ambitious, exciting and move with speed.”

“It enables us to buy land, develop that land and make that land work for us and our tax payers,” he added.

A consultation with residents, businesses and councils saw 389 people respond (up from 265 last year), with 148 (38.9%) supporting the council’s proposals, and 178 (46.7%) calling for no increase.

Only 14.4% (55 respondents) supported a 3% increase, which would equate to £4.60.

Councillor Dr Peter Moseley says this is a continuation of previous years projects and has been helped by being more flexible with how the authority managed its assets.

“We should be aware of the real impacts, if we didn’t have that increase would we still be providing value for money to residents if we chose to curtail some of our requirements to fit in with the consultation,” he says.

It comes as councils across the region are looking at other avenues of income in the face of funding cuts from government.

Councils are expected to see a further reduction in their revenue support grant, the main source of funding from government.

Tomorrow (Friday), the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel will explore a rise in the police precept of 11%.

South Holland District Council’s leaders will next week look at raising their council tax by 2.91%.

On Tuesday, North Kesteven District Council’s executive backed a 3.10% increase, while Lincolnshire County Council’s leaders approved 4.95% rise consisting of 2.95% general and 2% for adult social care.

Later this month, councillors at the City of Lincoln will themselves also be examining a proposed increase of 2.95%.

West Lindsey next week will also be looking at increasing their precept by 2.99%.

East Lindsey District Council’s audit committee last week looked at plans to increase the authority’s precept by 3.62% and leaders are set to examine the results of their consultation on February 20.

Boston Borough Council are looking to increase their part of the precept by 2.99%, and will be taking the decision to full council on February 28.

Outside of the county senior councillors at North East Lincolnshire last month approved proposals to increase their tax by 2.98%.