2019/20 Budget Consultation

2019/20 Town Council Budget Consultation

The Town Council is in the process of developing its Revenue and Capital Budgets for the 2019/20 financial year.

Clearly the budget that we set is important to our local community, both in terms of how our spending plans may impact on the provision of services and investment in assets for the benefit of the town, and in relation to the level of Council Tax that we need to raise from local taxpayers in order to fund these plans.

For these reasons, it is important that the Council provides the opportunity for local taxpayers to comment and ask questions on the Council’s services and spending plans, advise the Council of your priorities, and raise any concerns that you might have.

The Council is therefore undertaking consultation on the budget and has published a survey to formally record your views. The survey can be accessed on the Council website or via the following link https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/G8DHC2D.

Your views are very important to us and the results of the survey, including any specific comments made or concerns raised, will be reported to the Council when it meets to set the final 2019/20 Budget in January.

The Council is also holding a budget consultation meeting on Tuesday 27th November at 6pm at the Council Offices. Members of the public are encouraged to come along to hear a bit more about the Council’s spending plans and to take part in a question and answer session with the Chairman of the Council’s Policy and Resources Committee and the Council’s Finance Officer.

An overview of the Council’s draft 2019/20 budget proposals is set out below for your information.

Summary of the Proposed 2019/20 Revenue and Capital Budget

In overall terms, the Council is proposing a 2019/20 Revenue Budget that protects and maintains all current services, facilities and events next year, whilst at the same time incorporating some surplus resources that will provide a ‘contingency fund’ and enable the replenishment of the Council’s balances and reserves.

This will be important as the Council faces some significant financial challenges over the coming years, including the ongoing cuts to the Council Tax Support Grant funding on which it is reliant, inflationary pressures on staffing and running costs, and substantial capital investment commitments linked to the many assets that the Council owns and provides for the benefit of the community e.g. cemeteries, allotments, parks, play equipment, footpaths and bus shelters.

In order to offset the impact of the financial pressures faced at the present time and plan proactively for the longer term challenges faced, the Council is proposing that it raises the Town Council proportion of the Council Tax bill by 5% next year.

Whilst this may seem like a significant increase, the Town Council element of the Council Tax bill amounts to only 11p in every £1 of council tax paid, and the actual impact of this proposed increase therefore equates to less than £8 per year for the vast majority of local taxpayers i.e. those living in Band A properties.

The Council appreciates that any increase in the monthly outgoings of our local taxpayers will not be popular, and the decision to increase the Town Council Tax has not been taken lightly. However we hope you will agree that a monthly increase of 65p is a modest price to pay in order to ensure that all of the important services provided by the Town Council to the community of Great Aycliffe can be protected for another year.

There is much more information on the Council finances, should you wish to read this, on the finance section of the Council’s website. You can read the various reports setting out the background to the setting of the 2019/20 Budget via this link.