Wealden District Council is proposing a 2.7% increase in the council tax residents pay for its local services.
It says this will enable the council to become a self–sufficient local authority unsupported by central Government grants.
“There is a great deal of uncertainty going forward as to what, if any, funding we will receive in the future from central government,” said Councillor Bob Standley, Leader of the Council.
“At the time of making this decision, we still have not received details of the Local Government Finance Settlement which had been expected earlier this month. A re-set to Business Rates is expected in 2020/21 with a new funding formula to be announced.
“We are expecting a full contribution over the coming year from our Vicarage Field shopping centre investment and the new crematorium. Together with this proposed council tax increase, we should be in stronger position in the years ahead.
“The measures we take now will enable us to continue to deliver the high standard of services local residents and businesses expect.”
The proposed increase will mean an additional £5 a year contribution by the average Band D council tax payer, who will pay £192.44, with proportionate increases for the other council tax bands. A table of charges can be seen below.
The council says it has built up a reputation for sound financial management through shared services and partnerships as well as its own investments.
In a survey last year, 76% of residents said they were satisfied with the way the council runs things compared to a national average of 67%.
Over the past four years Wealden has ensured nearly 600 new affordable homes have been built in the district and 1,555 new jobs have been created, supported by nearly 20,000 sq ft of new employment space.
Since it began building council houses in 2013, the council will have built 201 council-owned homes in the district.
The four council-supported leisure centres attracted more than one million visits last year, and two new open access countryside areas have been created at Walshes Park and Horsted Green.
The council also continues to support Wealden’s tourist industry which generates over £305 million a year and supports more than 8,500 jobs.
Here’s how the proposed increase will affect council tax bands:
Your final council tax bill is used to provide a range of services in East Sussex including services provided by East Sussex County Council, Sussex Police, and East Sussex Fire and Rescue as well as your local Parish or Town Council. Wealden’s share of the bill is 10%.
The district council provides local services including public housing, private housing assistance, waste and recycling services, planning enforcement, countryside protection, free public car parks, public health, licensing, environmental protection and community activities.
The public are invited to take part in a consultation about the proposed council tax increase, alongside local business associations, town and parish councils, the Wealden Strategic Partnership and council employees.
Further information can be found in the Consultation Diary on the Council’s website. The consultation closes on January 23, 2019.
The final decision about Wealden’s council tax rate for 2019/20 will be made at the meeting of Full Council on February 20.