Residents consulted on council tax rise

Would you be happy to see Council Tax bills rise? Have your say. EMN-150116-170932001
Would you be happy to see Council Tax bills rise? Have your say. EMN-150116-170932001

North Kesteven residents have opportunities to shape the district council’s budget - and have their say about a potential 1.51 per cent rise in council tax - over coming weeks.

A rise is on the cards to help offset reduced Government funding.

The council is set to hold its annual budget consultation events, with residents welcome to attend to learn more about the budget setting process and vote on a range of options which will ultimately inform the council on the most appropriate level of charges to set.

Leader Coun Marion Brighton said: “After achieving substantial savings of over £2m in recent years, we continue to strive forward in our delivery of excellent services in a responsive, responsible and efficient manner and welcome the input of our residents and stakeholders in shaping and prioritising services to suit their needs.”

The first event will be at The Venue, Navenby, at 7pm tonight (Wednesday), then in the NKDC Council Chamber, Sleaford, at 7pm on January 28, and finally the Terry O’Toole Theatre, North Hykeham at 7pm on February 5. Anyone interested in attending is asked to call 01529 308016 or email in advance.

An explanation will be given on how the council’s budget is set, including details of a 4.4 per cent reduction by Central Government in ‘spending power’, which takes account of the income received from council tax, business rates, new homes bonus and specific grants.

The council also has a 15.6 per cent reduction in the overall financial support from Central Government from last year (down by almost £1million to £5m). It is further facing up to a 32 per cent cut in the level of Revenue Support Grant received (down by almost £1million to £2m).

To offset this there will be a 33 per cent increase in a specific rural services delivery funding grant (up £18,000 to £69,000), a new homes bonus of £2.3m and retention of 40 per cent of the total business rates collected locally (worth £3.8m).

With a general fund budget of £11.58m, attendees can comment on a potential council tax rise of around 1.51 per cent although other options will be offered.