A council tax increase of 1.98 per cent has been recommended by Boston Borough Council’s cabinet members.
The proposals for the next financial year’s council budget will now go out for public consultation before the full council makes its final decision on Monday, February 29.
The suggested increase will put an additional 6p per week on the borough portion of the council tax bill for an average band D property, with 89 per cent paying less.
The cabinet heard on Wednesday the borough council will have a balanced budget for 2016/17, but, looking forward over the next five years Coun Aaron Spencer, portfolio holder for finance, warned of much tougher times ahead as Government funding of local councils dwindles to nothing.
The council has already made £2.4 million in savings since 2009, but is likely to have to save a further £2.3 million in the next five years.
Coun Spencer said: “We will need to look carefully at how we spend our money and what is important for the people of Boston.”
Government has capped council tax increases at two per cent. Any proposed increase above two per cent would require a public referendum to get agreement first. The cost of running a referendum for Boston would be equal to the amount a three per cent council tax increase would raise, assuming residents agreed they should pay more. So a five per cent increase, subject to public agreement, would only realise for the council around the same as the proposed 1.98 per cent increase.
The lion’s share of council tax goes to Lincolnshire County Council and Lincolnshire Police.
The county council is proposing a council tax increase of 3.95 per cent. It has been permitted by Government to increase overall by four per cent to help fund adult social care before factoring in the need for a referendum on any further increase, so at 3.95 per cent would still be below the cap.
Lincolnshire Police is set to go for a 1.96 per cent increase.
You can have your say on Boston Borough Council’s draft budget proposals for 2016/17.