DCSIMG

Time for your view on council budget plan

Boston Borough Council

Boston Borough Council

Your views are wanted on Boston Borough Council’s budget for the next year, including a proposed freeze on its part of council tax bills.

The authority has launched a consultation over its budget for 2014/15 and financial strategy for the next five years.

It includes a proposal to keep the amount the council claims through council tax bills the same from April 1 at £168.39 for a Band D property (£3.23 a week).

Local authorities which take such steps receive a Government grant equivalent to a one per cent rise in its part of the fee – £29,000 for Boston.

If approved, it would be the fourth year in a row the council’s contribution to the bill (which also includes levies from other public bodies) has gone unchanged.

The cabinet approved the launch of a consultation at a 15 minute meeting on Wednesday.

Coun Raymond Singleton-McGuire, portfolio holder for finance, said: “Given the tough times everyone is facing we intend keeping council tax at the same level as for the last three years.”

It was a recommendation supported by Coun Michael Brookes, who said: “I think that’s very important because people are still feeling the pinch out there.”

The budget has been shaped by a cut in Government funding to the council - down by £770,000 (or a little over 13 per cent) from 2013/14 .

Coun Singleton-McGuire said: “Going forward we must ensure we continue to manage our finances rigorously and spend every penny wisely for the benefit of the people we serve.

“This budget ensures the council does more with less. There are many risks that the council faces, such as the likelihood of further reductions in Government funding.

“This budget is designed to meet such challenges head-on and ensure that the best possible services are provided to the people of Boston.”

FACTFILE

*The council plans to spend £140,000 on resurfacing car parks in the coming financial year.

*It has also earmarked £86,000 for the refurbishment of public toilets in Wide Bargate and Lincoln Lane.

*Under the plans, a sum of £100,000 would be spent on replacing a street cleansing vehicle.

*The council plans to spend £373,000 on pursuing its housing strategy, supporting projects such as the development of affordable housing.

*It has also set aside £221,000 for adapting properties to help people with disabilities live at home via Disabled Facilities Grants.

*There are other spends planned of £300,000 towards a nationwide scheme to roll out high-speed broadband, £75,000 on conserving shop fronts, £30,000 on updating IT equipment.

*There is also a contribution of £28,000 to the Stump for repairs and restoration, which, as lay rector, it is obliged to do.

*The budget also proposes changes to a relatively small number of fees from April 1.

*The cost on an allotment at Toot Lane, for instance, is recommended to rise from £38 for a plot of 300 square yards to £53. For plots of 600 square yards, it would go up by £40 to £130.

*Elsewhere there are smaller rises, such as the use of the gym at the Geoff Moulder Leisure Complex by non-members - up by £1 to £10. For concessions, it would go up by 40p to £5.

*Many areas of the budget would go unchanged, though, such as parking charges.

*The majority of fees involving the leisure pool at the Geoff Moulder Leisure Complex would remain the same, though there is a proposed increase of £33.92 on how much the Boston Amateur Swimming Club agreed rate per week - up to £1,061.92.

*Some services would also be cheaper. Anyone looking to dispose of a large white goods item would only pay £25 for its collection, £3 less than in 2013/14.

*The proposals will return to the cabinet on February 19 and will then go to the full council for approval on March 3.

*To get involved with the consultation, visit the council’s website, www.boston.gov.uk.

*What do you think? Are you happy with the council’s spending plans? Post your thoughts below...

 

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