Sedgemoor District Council’s element of local council tax will be increased by 3.18% this year, meaning Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge residents will be charged an additional £5 per year on a Band D property.

The authority has this week set a balanced budget with no cuts to public services, plus investment in priority services, despite continued reductions in grants from central Government.

At a meeting of Sedgemoor’s Full Council on Wednesday 20th February, members voted to approve the Council Tax and Housing Rents for 2019/2020 with an increase in council tax of £5 per year on a Band D and a reduction in rents of 1%.

“This has meant that there are no cuts to services for residents.  The increase in Council Tax will see an average Band D property pay £162.32 this year for District Council services,” said a spokeswoman.

“This includes £1.80 that is raised on behalf of the Somerset Rivers Authority each year. It goes directly to the Somerset Rivers Authority and enables it to implement and fund the 20-year flood action plan for the county.”

“An additional £34.74 goes to the Internal Drainage Boards to help with their work.  This leaves the actual amount that SDC retain for spending on its services at £125.78 per Band D property.”

Other measures announced in the budget include

  • An additional £35,000 to Citizens Advice to help with the impact of Universal Credit on residents, after withdrawal of monies by Somerset County Council.
  • A further £60,000 to support the work of the Homelessness team; this is in addition to the £100,000 provided last year and £316,500 over the past three years.
  • £2m capital per annum to build new council houses; plus £50,000 to deliver the projects
  • £1m for housing projects with our partners to facilitate building new homes.
  • £250,000 per year for two years towards raising the standards in our housing stock, managed by Homes in Sedgemoor.
  • £150,000 to continue the highly successful apprentice scheme (to date twenty staff on the scheme since its inception four years ago)
  • An additional £20,000 for training.
  • £120,000 over two years to implement a Graduate Apprentice scheme.
  • An investment of £4.8m over six years for the digital transformation programme.  This programme puts our customers at the centre of all we do and helps to build a Council of the future that is modern, flexible and efficient The Council’s overriding principle is to create digital opportunities through ‘Digital by Choice,’ where customers can access our services online, through any device, at any time of day. At the same time, we pledge to leave no customer behind.
  • Success with Business Rates growth and pilot application has meant that Sedgemoor is estimating retaining a further £1m from its local Business Rates.  This is in addition to the £1.4m it has retained from business growth across the district.

Councillors also voted to agree to continue the Council Tax Support Scheme, which gives financial support to residents on a low income to help pay domestic council tax charges.