services won't be cut, vows district council leader
and Highbridge residents will see no cuts to services provided by
Sedgemoor District Council, the authority's leader has vowed this
week as councillors approved a 3.3% increase in council tax.
portion of the council tax for the coming year will rise by £5
per year for a typical band D property, or 3.32%, following a decision
at a meeting on Tuesday (February 20th).
of the Council, Cllr Duncan McGinty, pictured, says that
by putting up the council tax, Sedgemoor District Council has set
a balanced budget for the coming year despite a reduction in its
funding from Central Government.
increase comes on top of a separate decision earlier this month
by the Town Council to increase
Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge council tax bills by 4.95%.
this week's meeting of Sedgemoor District Council's Full Council,
members voted to approve the Council Tax and Housing Rents for 2018/2019
following their long-term plan by the managed use of balances.
means that there are no cuts to services for residents. Over the
past year, members have taken prudent, forward-thinking decisions
that maintain and improve services and save money," said the
Leader of the Council, Cllr Duncan McGinty.
element of the council tax will be increased by 3.32% - an additional
£5 per year on a Band D property. The council also agreed
to a 1.25% charge for the Somerset Rivers Authority, which equates
to a £1.80 per Band D property.
his speech to councillors, he said: "Like so many other councils,
we face ongoing challenges. However, unlike so many other authorities,
we have prepared well over recent years to ensure we are not facing
the crises that many are now facing."
course, we still need to be prudent and ensure we plan for the future,
but I am proud to be able to stand here without the need to cut
services to our communities."
is in no small part due to this Councils ongoing careful financial
management but also as a direct result of the success we have achieved
in a range of areas across the District, not least of which being
our ongoing economic growth and new homes. Both bring financial
as well as regeneration and social rewards."
added: "Since 2008 we had seen 6,000 jobs, 4,540 homes and
1.74m sq ft of employment space created. We had attracted seven
hotels, gained an Enterprise Zone and recorded 0.4% unemployment.
We had welcomed 470 businesses, signed 30 Local Labour Agreements
and seen £100m worth of education and skills provision. We
had registered 690 businesses on the Hinkley Point C supply chain
portal and £400m of investment in the District."
the economic objectives from the Hinkley Point C project set out
in our vision documents will result in more than 1000 new apprenticeships
and in excess of £200m per annum added to the regional economy.
Our new enterprise zone will generate more than £150m in business
rates income to the Local Enterprise Partnership, Sedgemoor District
and Somerset County Council. We have welcomed 700 people through
our employment centre Under Construction since April
current government has clearly recognised the importance and value
of local development and housing. We are taking every opportunity
the get the best for this district from new government funding initiatives."
most recent figures we have for housing are relating to 2016-17,
in which 512 homes were built of which 168 were affordable. There
are just over 200 affordable homes on sites, currently under construction."
2018-19, we expect to see the build out of a £15.3m portfolio
of six sites, assisted with funds including £1.2m from the
Hinkley Housing Fund delivering 110 affordable homes in Bridgwater."
our Local Plan coming to fruition we are set to deliver 644 new
houses a year. With an informed and careful approach, a planned
use of balances and an ongoing review of the way we conduct our
business we have balanced the budget with minimum impact."
we want to do more. Housing remains a primary focus for this Council
- minimising homelessness, providing new affordable housing, and
working with partner developers to bring forward market housing
which will attract new inward investment and higher value jobs."
such, we propose investing an additional £100,000 to strengthen
our housing advice team, funded by government grant, and an additional
£60,000 to provide staff resources to support this councils
new build housing programme."
remain absolutely committed to building new homes owned and managed
by the council and investing in our own stock. This will not only
improve standards but also exploit development opportunities to
build increased numbers of council houses, which meet the requirements
of modern living and provide healthy, thermally-efficient homes
for our residents."
has been reported in the local government press about Councils investment
in commercial properties to provide investment income for the future.
This was identified as an area for further work in our Peer Challenge
and I am pleased to report significant progress in this regard both
with proposed investment of up to £150,000 for staff and expertise
to support this work and the provision of up to £50 million
to invest in the commercial markets."
to this, we have also extended our treasury management portfolio
which has already seen increased income streams in excess and for
future years is estimated to increase by an additional £300,000
So we are not resting on our laurels!"
our most deprived communities, we will continue to work with partners,
police, fire, social services and others as part of the Together
Teams. Two years into the first Together Team project, this work
has been embedded and is no longer an add-on to other support we
provide. For this to continue, we are proposing additional funding
of £30,000 per year."
are investing an additional £50,000 into continuing our campaign
for increased community benefit in relation to the construction
phase of Hinkley Point C; Members will remember that due to our
constant dialogue with Ministers and government departments we got
£128 million back in 2013 for the operational phase."
our partners, we are also looking at our green credentials.
We already strive to do more. We currently encourage people to cycle,
car share, we have a hybrid car and one electric pool cars, LED
lighting in Bridgwater House and have reduced the use of single
use plastics over recent years with only one water tower."
a coastal community, we are well aware of the impacts of plastics
and will do all we can to encourage the use of other traditional
and more suitable alternative to single-use plastics."
have also just installed air quality measuring equipment in Bridgwater
and the results of this will be seen on the Defra website."
our very clear success in recent years, as acknowledged by the Peer
Challenge Team, we will continue to seek to improve access to services
and reduce costs. The focus of this will be by way of the Customer
Access Programme due to start this year. This will require significant
investment but offers the opportunity to change radically the way
in which we do business. The business case for this will be reported
later this year at which time we will make the final investment
want to be sure that we are a strong council for the future we want
to invest in our staff, ensure we have the right skills and provide
for meaningful career paths. We have seen the success of our apprentice
programme with twenty-one apprentices taking part to date. We now
want to build on that with an apprentice-plus scheme
enabling retention of new talent and enthusiasm. In support of this,
and future apprentices, we are proposing to increase the budget
to £250,000 this year. This will provide funding to grow
our own, succession plan and set an example to other employers
across the district. This funding will be supported by the annual
apprenticeship levy of £47,400."
will be seeking IIP re-accreditation later this year, reflecting
our belief in and support of our staff. While we continue to seek
efficiencies and alternative income streams, we have avoided service
cuts and are able to invest further in those services that are valued
by our residents. We should not forget that this has been achieved
while many of our neighbours are facing swingeing cuts and further
us not forget that, at the same time, we are continuing to deliver
against our obligations under the Section 106 for Hinkley C. The
majority may be funded by 106 monies, but it can only be achieved
by the ongoing commitment and support of the teams across the Council,
be that Employment, Housing, Health, Leisure or Community projects."
now to the Council Tax. For many years, we have kept our portion
of the council tax as low as possible, whilst continuing to maintain
and improve services. We are proud of that record. However, we have
to balance this against the need to raise additional income to protect
and improve services."
we propose to increase council tax for Sedgemoor in the coming year
by £5.00 per year for a band D property, or 3.32%."
this budget is not just about next year or indeed about this council...
it is about the future for our residents with continued, and I hope,
expanded services across the District."