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District council plans £5 annual tax rise

By Kerry Ashdown | South Staffordshire | News | Published:

South Staffordshire residents are set to see a £5 increase in their annual bill for district council services in April – on top of a new charge for garden waste collection.

South Staffordshire Council Hq. Photo by Staffordshire LDR Kerry Ashdown

Local authorities across Staffordshire are currently in the process of setting their budgets for the 2020/21 financial year.

But a fall in the money they receive from central Government, plus uncertainty over how they will be funded in the future, mean they are facing a number of financial challenges when it comes to balancing the books in the coming years.

South Staffordshire Council is set to be able to deliver a balanced budget in the years leading up to 2024/25 according to its latest Medium Term Financial Strategy (MFTS). But it is expected to face a fall in its general reserves from £7.8m in 2019/20 to £1.6m in 2024/25.

The medium term forecast for the council’s finances has improved since the last MTFS was approved in February 2019 however, when a balanced budget was presented for just three years.

On Tuesday members of the council’s cabinet backed the latest MTFS and a proposed budget for 2020/21. These will now go out to consultation and the full council is due to formally ratify the budget in the coming weeks.

The budget proposals include plans to increase the district council tax by £5 in 2020/21. And the council is also set to start charging residents who want their garden waste collected £43.60 for an annual permit from June.

The council is also set to save £375,000 over the next five years by sharing legal services with two other local authorities serving Lichfield and Tamworth.

A report to the cabinet said: “The introduction of charging residents for the collection of Green Waste is expected to achieve (net) income of £3.350 million for the council over the life of the MTFS. It should be noted that this is predicated on a 45 per cent subscription take up rate.

“The MTFS assumes council tax increases of the maximum currently allowable without a referendum, namely £5 per annum. The previous year MTFS had assumed 2.99 per cent from 2021/22.”

Kerry Ashdown

By Kerry Ashdown
@KerryAshdownLDR

Local Democracy Reporter covering Staffordshire.

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