Funding cuts prompt tax rise?

NKDC offices, Sleaford.
NKDC offices, Sleaford.

North Kesteven householders are likely to face an almost two per cent hike on the district council’s share of their Council Tax bills this April.

The proposed rise of 1.99 per cent is recommended to the district council’s Executive Board, meeting tomorrow (Thursday), which would add between £2 and £2.50 a year to the overall cost.

In order to limit Council Tax rises, the council has found savings of £123,000 for the year ahead from reduced costs of diesel, parking enforcement, IT and street cleaning.

The council knows it will have to find more savings in coming years, of around £131,000 next year and £427,000 for 2018/19. These are likely to be met through savings including closer council partnerships on waste management, increased commercial viability of leisure centres following extensive investment, more efficient contract arrangements and a new initiative to build houses in a different way.

Housing growth and economic growth would also deliver increased income through business rates and an enlarged Council Tax base.

North Kesteven’s Government funding from grants and business rates for the coming year will drop by 14.3 per cent from £4.9million to £4.2million - greater than the national average. Head of Finance and Resources, Russell Stone, warned the support grant from Government will go completely by 2019.

Council Leader Marion Brighton said: “Over a number of years, finances have become increasingly challenging. Through insightful and careful management and control we have found ongoing savings whilst continuing to deliver excellence and value for money. That is the model we will continue to follow as we identify further efficiencies for the years ahead.”

New council projects for the year ahead cover three schemes to support business start-ups and growth, new competitive swimming equipment at the refurbished NK Sports Centre, a new cycle route, and a new Stepping Out Walk for Heckington. Looking further forward, it has plans to build on investment in Sleaford’s leisure facilities and social housing to achieve necessary savings and income.

Residents can offer their opinion on the council’s budgets for the next three years. Visit www.n-kesteven.gov.uk/CPconsultation or Facebook page www.facebook.com/northkestevendc

They can join in the consultation events on January 25 – 7pm, at NKDC Council Chamber, Kesteven Street, Sleaford, or February 4 – 7pm, Terry O’Toole Theatre, Moor Lane, North Hykeham. To join contact 01529 308069 or email surveys@n-kesteven.gov.uk