Budget consultation goes live for comments

Published on 16th December 2015

White piggy bank with black flower design

Residents can now have their say over spending proposals for 2016/17, as the 5 week public consultation goes live.

To take part in the consultation, residents can complete the online questionnaire or visit the Municipal Offices for a paper copy. A resident forum will also be held in the Pittville Room at the Municipal Offices on Thursday 14 January at 7pm; to register for a place, contact the council’s secretariat team on 01242 775027 or email Jayne.parker@www.cheltenham.gov.uk, with your name, address and phone number.

The consultation is open until 20 January 2016.

Last night, cabinet members approved the draft budget report and they are now asking for feedback to help shape the final budget which goes to full council on 12 February 2016.

The council is preparing for a financially difficult year, against a background of declining government funding for local councils and rising costs.

  • Its draft budget for 2016/17 identifies £738,000 of efficiency savings in the coming year and there are plans to save a further £657,000 a year over the following three years by sharing more of its services with neighbouring councils
  • For the first time since 2010 there will also be a small increase in the borough council’s share of council tax. The increase of just under 2 per cent will take the borough element of council tax up to £190.84 for the average Band D taxpayer, an increase of £3.72 a year
  • However, car park charges will be frozen for a sixth year running and there will also be no increase in garden waste charges
  • There will also be no cuts in front-line services.

Councillor John Rawson, cabinet member for finance said: “Since we last increased council tax, inflation has increased by about 13 per cent. Our government core funding (revenue support grant and business rates income) has been cut by almost half, from £8.8 million to £4.6 million a year. According to the Chancellor’s recent announcement, our grant funding will fall again in the coming year, with further reductions in the following three years.

“We also face a short-term problem in the coming year, because a number of sites that are being redeveloped will not be paying business rates.  This will put itself right in due course and bring very valuable benefits to the town in the longer term, but we estimate that it will reduce our business rates income next year by about £285,000.”

“In response to these challenges, we have worked tirelessly to cut costs and make savings in this budget. However, we have reached the point where continuing to freeze council tax will threaten the local services that people value. Our overriding responsibility has to be to protect local services, even if it means a modest increase in council tax.

"During January we will be looking to finalise the budget proposals ready for the final budget to come to full council on 12 February. Last year, public responses to the consultation were very helpful to us, especially in deciding the priorities for capital investment. This year I hope we will have another strong response to the public consultation so that the budget can fully reflect the wishes and hopes of the people of Cheltenham."


 

For press enquiries contact: Katie Sandey, communications and web team leader, on 01242 775037 or email communications@www.cheltenham.gov.uk