Date published: 22 January 2020
Colchester Borough Council’s portion of the Council Tax could rise for only the fourth time since 2010, if the 2020/21 budget is approved by Cabinet members when they meet on 29 January.
A proposal to set the council’s portion of the Council Tax rate for 2020/21 at £195.57 for a Band D property would, if agreed by Full Council on 13 February, represent a modest increase of £4.95 (2.6%) from the current rate. The council will continue to offer relief to residents most in need through their Local Council Tax Support scheme.
It costs around £20 million per year to deliver the services residents, businesses and visitors depend and rely on – from waste and recycling to sports and leisure and planning.
The 2020/21 budget also provides for continued investment in new capital projects, supporting housing and the Local Plan, providing one-off investment to deliver recurring savings in the council’s finances, further provision for community and youth initiatives and the Better Colchester campaign.
It would also see funding for a range of new strategic priorities agreed by Cabinet last November, including schemes to deliver on the council’s Climate Emergency declaration and improve the environment, such as the Colchester Woodland Project, boosting the Waste and Recycling Service, developing a vision for the River Colne, and initiatives to promote and enable more sustainable modes of transport.
To balance the books, the budget includes £1.8m of savings and additional income, most of which will come through taking a more commercial approach and more invest-to-save decisions, and through improving efficiency and ways of working.
Cllr David King, Portfolio Holder for Resources, said: “We know that councils – ourselves included – continue to face some exceptionally intense and difficult financial pressures. However, we continue to manage these pressures well and are striking the right balance.
This is another robust and prudent budget that allows us to maintain award winning services and to invest in our environment and climate change mitigation, in community regeneration and to promoting more of our wonderful heritage.
“Our budget will allow us to continue to provide high-quality services and to invest in long-term projects such as Northern Gateway. But it also keeps money back in reserves and balances to ensure we can meet problems when they arise, enable us to meet the concerns and needs of residents, continue to deliver services and support those most in need.
“Residents can be assured the council remains fully committed to the careful management of its resources and assets. Over many years we have kept increases as small as possible, protecting services despite central government funding cuts. Our promise is unchanged: We will continue to protect vital services whilst also increasing investment, helping increase opportunity and residents’ quality of life and delivering a Better Colchester.”