Test Valley’s Revenue Budget and Council Tax proposals for 2018/19 will be presented to Cabinet on February 14.
Despite continued reductions in the Central Government Revenue Support Grant and additional spending pressures on services of over £1.4 million, the Council are proposing a small increase to Council Tax of £5 – the equivalent of less than 10p a week.
Economic Portfolio Holder, Councillor Peter Giddings said: “Our Council Tax is the 26th lowest of all the 201 district councils in the country and despite central government spending reductions, we are still able to continue to invest in our residents, communities and businesses.”
Cllr Giddings added: “Our Central Government Revenue Support Grant has reduced by 98.2% in the last 5 years from £3.1m to only £56k next year and will end entirely in 2019/20. To counteract that our successful Project Enterprise * investments in commercial property and housing have helped generate some replacement income. In fact we are due to receive £1.3m more income this year than if we had kept our money in the bank.
“We are investing over £450k in 28 playgrounds across the borough as well as other new and improved leisure facilities such as play areas and fitness trails. We continue to award grants to new businesses and for improved disabled facilities, develop our towns with the Town Mills Project and Romsey enhancement works and help to provide affordable housing.
“We have made enormous efforts to reduce our expenditure without reducing frontline services. In each of the last ten years the reductions to net expenditure identified by the Council has been much more than the additional income received through Council Tax increases.”
During the period from 2008/09 to present the Council has delivered budget reductions totalling £11.757M, equivalent to more than £1M per year.
The report also notes that a Special Expenses Levy of £296,627 will also be made in respect of Andover to cover the cost of providing burial grounds, public halls, sports grounds and playgrounds