Sedgemoor District Councillors have this week approved a 3.02% increase in council tax charges from the start of the new financial year.

The small increase in the authority’s element of the overall council tax charge equates to an additional £5 per year on a Band D property or 9.6p per week.

It comes after Sedgemoor District Council set a balanced budget on Monday (February 22nd) with no cuts to public services for the coming financial year.

“The emphasis over the past year has been on supporting residents and businesses throughout the Coronavirus crisis while delivering frontline services and taking opportunities to kick-start economic recovery,” says a spokeswoman.

“Additionally, there is a firm commitment to press ahead with ambitious plans to invest £1m of growth into the local economy as well as spending in priority services – all set in the context of a future stable five year financial position.”

Other measures announced in the budget were:

  • An additional £180,000 grant to Citizens Advice, to help them continue their vital work in supporting our residents.
  • £250,000 for the approved the Climate Emergency Strategy and its Action Plan, setting a pathway for this Council to meet its declared target of becoming  Carbon Neutral by 2030.  The council says it is an “ambitious plan” and will also play a “crucial role to support our pathway to recovery from this pandemic and  will help build some additional resources and staff will bring forward a fully costed resource structure for Council’s approval, which will ensure the successful of delivery of plan and process for Sedgemoor residents.  A number of SDC projects are being developed such as electric bike fleet, extra pool car, extra charging points, Tree Officer, water refill units and public EV charging.
  • Further support for our extremely successful graduate and apprenticeship schemes of £400,000.  Over the past five years, we have helped 36 apprentices and five graduates to start their careers.  This money will help a further 12 apprentices.
  • Additional monies of £84,000 investing in our IT infrastructure to help home working for staff.
  • £30,000 a year towards Spark – the infrastructure organisation for the Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise sector.   Spark have played a pivotal role in the Covid crisis, supporting local community groups to support the community, they created Covid helpers, supporting volunteering, and been a source of information and guidance to the volunteer organisations.
  • £80,000 for the communities of Wlstock and Stockmoor, which will be a one off fund, linked to the defining of priorities working with ward members,  Town Council and communitity organisations
  • £15,000 for Cheddar Active Travel which will look for long-term solutions to the anti-social issues in Cheddar Gorge which is essential to recovery and building back better.
  • A top-up one-off grant, in addition to the Town Fund monies, of up to £15,000 for an Eastover Hospital/Infirmary feasibility Study and £11,000 specifically Penel Orlieu – Classic Buildings Feasibility Study.  Both the projects are within the Town Fund bid, currently with government.
  • A specialist Economic Development officer to help business recovery across the district.
  • An additional funding for resorts and beach safety, with RNLI lifeguards on all Sedgemoor’s beaches including Burnham-On-Sea and Berrow – full details are yet to be agreed.

At the meeting of SDC’s Full Council today (Monday, 22nd February) members voted to approve the Council Tax and Housing Rents for 2021/2022.

Councillor Duncan McGinty, Leader of Sedgemoor District Council said: “This has been an extremely difficult year with the impact of the Covid Pandemic and its financial implications, not just on this Council, but on the wider economy.  I would just like to pay tribute to the staff and members, who not only have risen to the Covid occasion and provided help, support, advice and sometimes a shoulder to cry on, but have continued to do the day-to-day work that keeps the Council delivering for its residents and businesses.”

He adds: “The figures presented include the estimated cost of the Covid pandemic and these have been funded by government grants and use of specific reserves. This Council has continued its strategy of a managed use of balances and specific regard has been given to the need to deliver a balanced medium-term budget, which is robust and will achieve our commitments.”

“It should be noted that a countywide 2,000-strong, survey carried out in winter 2020 by Ipsos Mori, one of the world’s leading research companies, showed that 67% residents are currently satisfied with public services provided by district councils.  Additionally, in 2019 65% of Sedgemoor residents said that they were extremely satisfied with our services.”

Last year, we reported that Sedgemoor District Council agreed a similar 3.08% rise in council tax rates.

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