Council tax increase on the cards for Hastings

Hastings Borough Council may increase its share of council tax by 2.04 per cent SUS-161019-163304001
Hastings Borough Council may increase its share of council tax by 2.04 per cent SUS-161019-163304001

Hastings council officers recommend increasing its share of council tax by £5 a year on average ahead of a budget meeting on Monday (February 13).

Hastings Borough Council’s cabinet will discuss the draft 2017/18 budget, with suggestions to increase council tax and use £600,000 of reserves to bridge the estimated deficit.

A 2.04 per cent, £5 for a band D property, increase in the local authority’s part of the council tax is recommended, which is the maximum without a referendum.

“Major reductions in funding in 2017/18 are set to continue to 2019/20 and beyond and this will impact heavily upon the council’s ability to provide services and grants across all areas of existing activity,” the budget report says.

“Since 2010/11 funding has been reduced by more than 50 per cent in cash terms on a like for like basis.

“To ensure key corporate priorities are achieved it remains imperative that the limited resources available are properly targeted.”

The council’s total net expenditure in 2017/18 is estimated at £13.699m and represents a decrease in net expenditure of 4.6 per cent.

Historically most of the council’s funding came from central government grants but they are being cut, with 28.1 per cent less funding this year than 2016/17.

Chief finance officer Peter Grace said the funding reduction coupled with the council’s poorer spending power ‘could have a negative effect on the local economy’.

“The economic regeneration of the town remains a key priority for the council,” his report says.

“The ability to work with partners to help stimulate the local economy continues but will be seriously reduced in the future with the reductions in our funding.

“However in the short term the Council established some limited reserves for economic development and for community safety as a means of ensuring the council can continue to make a contribution to the regeneration of the town over the next few years.

“These are being used to support the budget in 2017/18 and beyond.”

There is an estimated deficit of £546,000 in 2017/18, but a ‘balanced budget’ can be achieved by using more than £600,000 of reserves.

Read the full report here.

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