City Council To Increase Rates
Faced with ever increasing demands on its finances, St Asaph City Council has, once again, had to consider its options when setting its precept.
Denbighshire County Council will again request the to i give financial support to the running of the library and there are ongoing joint discussions on how to increase the services that the library can provide.
This request for £12,000 financial assistance, together with the mounting costs for ground/tree maintenance for Roe Plas and the Common and the cost of servicing/emptying the litter and dog waste bins in those areas has resulted in the City Council regrettably making the decision to increase the precept by £8.96 per annum or 17p per week, thus making this year’s Band D precept £51.97 per annum, of which £8.25 is required to support the library.
The Mayor, Councillor Colin Hardie said: “This decision has been made after a lengthy debate but I’m sure residents would rather the library services remain at their present level and ground maintenance continue at its existing standard than suffer the loss of library services and see a deterioration of our beautiful green spaces.”
Considering the costs faced by the council, members commented that, although Roe Plas, The Common and the extended riverside land were seen as the jewels in the crown of the city and valuable community assets, the costs of maintaining the land had increased considerably over the years with the emptying of litter/‘doggy loo’ bins alone costing in excess of £7000 per annum.
The Council have, in past years, avoided rate increases by using reserves and, as a result of increasing costs the diminishing reserves are no longer able to sustain supplementing the precept forcing an increase in the rates for the coming year.
Council tax recommendation to Full Council
Members of Denbighshire’s Cabinet have agreed to recommend to Full Council that the proposed increase in the Denbighshire element of the council tax should be 2.75% - which is expected to be below the average across North Wales.
proposed increase is also likely to be below the average level of increase generally across Wales.
Julian Thompson-Hill, Cabinet Lead Member for Finance, said: “The Council is legally required to set a balanced and deliverable budget before the start of the financial year and to set the resulting level of council tax, to allow bills to be sent out to residents.
“Whilst considering and preparing to set this year’s budget, we have needed to take a number of factors into consideration.
“The final settlement from Welsh Government will see Denbighshire’s budget increase by 0.6%, slightly better than the provisional settlement.On the face of it, the increase can be seen as good news, butin real terms, it is a cut as it does not take into account inflation or pressures on some services.
“We have historically protected school budgets and an additional £1. 9 million is being made available for schools.We also need to meet pressures facing social care, as well new investments in our priorities and they are all reflected in the proposed budget.
“Over recent years, the Council has made a commitment to keeping council tax levels as low as possible.At the start of this council term, Denbighshire had the third highest level of council tax in Wales.Four consecutive years of below average increase has changed the position to now being the seventh or eighth highest in Wales for 2017/18.This has resulted from the Council being effective in the way that it has managed and delivered its budgets over recent years. As a result, no further savings are required from services for 2017/18, other than ones already committed”.