TAXPAYERS in Bromsgrove are set to see an average increase of £5-per-year for Bromsgrove District Council’s services between 2020 and 2021.
The rise was announced yesterday as the council’s deputy leader Geoff Denaro hailed what he called an ‘aspirational’ budget that ‘protected frontline services whilst investing in others’.
Residents in band D properties will see their bills for district services go up by two per cent from £223.00 to £228.00 rather than the anticipated 2.99 per cent predicted in last year’s medium term financial plan.
The council points out there have been no cuts to services such as bin collections or providing parks and open spaces.
As well as avoiding cuts to frontline services the council said it had added to its savings while also investing elsewhere.
Investments include £15,000 in traffic enforcements around schools at peak times, the ambitious pop-up ‘Birdbox’ space and a new focus on reducing fly-tipping.
Council officers have put forward funding bids including £28,000 of financial support allocated to the Bromsgrove Partnership Sunrise Project, refurbishing bus shelters to the tune of £54,000 and £50,000 for helping to develop community hubs in libraries.
It added despite the evidence needed for the Local Plan Review and independent Highways advice incurring extra costs, it had made significant savings of 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.
Coun Denaro, said: “Not only have we avoided cutting our services but we have actually added to them – and quite creatively too.
“But rather than being frivolous we are looking to maintain a financial stability and our aspirations include looking at how we can get income from the housing market, including building homes on Burcot Lane.
“With this budget report our residents can be confident we can continue to provide, and build on, our services, and look at investing in new projects including the District Heating Network project.”
Council leader Coun Karen May added: “While this budget is a positive one, we will not become complacent as we are aware that future Government funding cannot be assumed nor relied upon.
“The services which are important to our residents are important to us and feature in this report and we made sure our savings have benefited them, by keeping the council tax increase at lower than expected.
“They told us, we listened, and now we’re doing.”
The budget will be put before the cabinet at 4.30pm on Wednesday, February 26, and then before full council at 6pm.