BROMSGROVE District Council’s budget was rubber-stamped on Wednesday night.
The financial plan which the Conservatives say will ‘protect frontline services whilst investing in others’ means a two per cent rise in the district council’s portion of the council tax. It equates to an extra £5-per-year for the average band D home-owner.
Investments included £15,000 in traffic enforcement around schools at peak times, the ambitious pop-up ‘Birdbox’ space and a new focus on reducing fly-tipping.
Council officers put forward funding bids including £28,000 for the Bromsgrove Partnership Sunrise Project to support local families, £54,000 for refurbishing bus shelters and £50,000 for helping to develop community hubs in libraries.
Despite extra costs preparing evidence for the Local Plan Review and independent highways advice, the council added it had saved more than £170,000 to increase the availability of future funds.
A £130,000 reduction in insurance budgets due to a new contract being tendered, £54,000 of savings from the proposed management review and more than £400k from reviewing borrowing requirements had also improved the council’s finances.
Bromsgrove Labour Group called for the council tax precept to be frozen and put forward amendments for £150,000 to be invested in local parks, £10,000 for a tree-planting programme, subsidised compost bins and a £50,000 cash injection to fit solar panels to the Council House at Parkside to help combat climate change.
The group said replacing the council’s highways consultant Mott MacDonald with an individual in-house highways officer would have reduced the bill from £100,000 to a maximum salary cost of £58,000.
Other savings Labour proposed were to cut the £50,000 for the Library Hub and save a further £50,000 by axing the district council’s park consultant.
The remainder of their amendments would be paid for through the New Homes Bonus.
The amendments were lost and the controlling group’s budget was voted through.