05:14PM, Monday 13 November 2017
Cllr MJ Saunders
The average annual council tax bill will increase by £46.70 next year, the Royal Borough has announced today.
An increase of 1.95 per cent will be imposed on the base council tax and a three per cent adult social care levy will also be added.
For a Band D property, that constitutes an increase of £17.85 and £28.85, respectively.
£54m will be spent on so-called ‘capital projects’, including £15.8m on stage two of the Braywick Leisure Centre scheme, £10m for temporary parking facilities, and £1.3m on CCTV upgrades.
The Royal Borough plans to borrow a maximum of £230m from ‘low-interest, government-backed borrowing sources’, according to Cllr MJ Saunders (Con, Bisham and Cookham), the lead member for finance.
That will be paid for by a predicted increase in income gained by the regeneration scheme in the next decade.
The final part of the council’s programme of school expansion and enhancements, worth £4.9m, is also budgeted.
The overall budget will not be approved until February, and Cllr MJ Saunders said he wanted to reveal its details early to allow for ‘opportunity for reflection’.
He said: “The financial climate in local government remains tough and the demands of local residents, young and old, on the council’s services have increased.
“But whereas many councils are cutting services, the Royal Borough will be able to protect and enhance its offer to local people.
“This is thanks to sound financial management and a commitment to delivering differently - which the recent Local Government Association’s peer review recognised as a strength of the council.
“We have taken responsible decisions on costs and savings to ensure prudent management of public money and to balance the needs of our residents, council tax payers and staff.”
The budget includes a commitment to increasing spending on wages by an average of 2.5 per cent to cover rewards and promotion, and budgets to ensure it can meet its pension obligations.
The Advertiser has not yet seen the full budget document.
The draft budget will be considered at the Adult Services and Health Overview and Scrutiny Panel tomorrow (Tuesday, November 14) at the Town Hall.
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