Councillors are set to discuss the first draft of Babergh District Council’s budget for 2021/22 next month.
The council’s cabinet is due to decide in the New Year whether to approve proposals that would see a 2.96% increase in council tax – meaning an extra £5 a year (or less than 10p a week) for an average Band D property.
The budget is set to be considered by cabinet on Thursday, January 7, and by Overview and Scrutiny on Monday, January 18. It will then receive further consideration at the next cabinet meeting before going to Full Council in February. If approved, it will come into effect on April 1.
Babergh District Council leader and cabinet member for Finance, John Ward, said: “We have supported businesses and the most vulnerable in our communities throughout the pandemic and will continue to do so – supporting the local economy and helping our district through this crisis and beyond. However, this is not without cost.
“We have also made climate change commitments that we must be able to afford to meet – not just for Babergh’s residents now, but for generations to come – and there are still ongoing challenges as all councils become independent of government financial support. This means there may be some difficult choices ahead in order to ensure we have the financial resilience and stability to ensure we can continue to offer the services that people rely upon.”
In addition to the council tax increase, the draft budget also include a proposed increase of £2.50 a year to the annual brown bin garden waste subscriptions, taking the cost from £52.50 to £55 – the equivalent of an extra 10p per collection.
The council’s plans for a greener future include proposals (to be heard during the same meeting) to move their vehicle fleet, including 35 waste lorries, to Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO). This move would cut approximately a quarter of councils’ total CO2 emissions, but comes at an initial cost of around £50,000, with a further £56,000 to £97,000 per year to cover fuel costs.
Also on the agenda is parking provision across the district – with proposals seeking a way to retain some level of subsidised parking to support local business, but also encouraging use of more sustainable transport to better balance the needs of local residents, visitors, businesses and workers.
Ahead of the budget decision and next year’s council tax bills landing on doormats, residents can check their details and let the council know of any changes 24/7 by signing up for an online account via the website.
Through an online account, residents can opt for paperless billing, check their balance, see instalments, update their details and see council tax reduction and housing benefit claim information as well as viewing bills online.