Details are emerging this evening of the Council’s budget plans for 2016/17.
Council Tax will increase by 3%, of which 2% will be ring-fenced to help with social care costs.
Council house rents will be reduced by 1% (in line with central government instructions). This will mean cuts in repairs budgets, although the housing account is showing a £20 million accumulated surplus.
The Council is to spend £234,000 more to fund “additional Community Safety Hub officers” to cover additional enforcement around dog fouling, street drinking, licensing infringement and noise enforcement plus ” a reactive service for street services to deal with fly-tipping, graffiti, litter and weeds” which would be a welcome step forward.
Another welcome improvement will be an investment of an additional £100,000 to help tackle mental health issues, while the completion of the Local Plan will cost another £350,000 and an update of the strategic flood risk assessment will cost £60,000.
An extra £74,000 will be used to increase Councillors pay.
Some of the more eye-catching cuts include:
- £350,000 cut in bus subsidies. Number 20 service to be scrapped.
- £1.1 million cut in adult social care provision
- £1.3 million cut in education support (schools are funded directly by the government)
- Reductions in public garden and tree maintenance
- Handing over allotment management to users
- Theatre Royal (revenue) grants scrapped.
- Less on Public Health (drugs, alcohol, smoking, dentistry and sexual health)
- Fewer health checks
Many residents will be looking at the Council capital investment plans to see whether the excesses of the last administration – which doubled the debt per head of population figure in the City – have been reversed.