Tax rise agreed for South Kesteven residents

Council tax bill
Council tax bill

South Kesteven District Council leaders have agreed a council tax increase of 3.25 per cent 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 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 for the town.

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

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

Coun Helen Goral said the authority showed itself 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.

Coun Nick Neilson said: “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 per cent) supporting the council’s proposals, and 178 (46.7 per cent) calling for no increase.

Only 14.4 per cent (55 respondents) supported a three per cent increase, which would equate to £4.60 onto tax bills.

Coun Dr Peter Moseley said this is a continuation of previous years’ projects and it had 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 said.

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.

The Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel has agreed a rise in the police precept of 11 per cent.

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