Have your say on council budget proposalsPublished Tuesday 16 January 2024
Residents and businesses are encouraged to have their say on the council’s draft budget proposals for 2024/25.
Harborough District Council has set out its priorities to make savings and still deliver effective and efficient public services.
Like many local authorities and households across the country, the council is facing unprecedented financial challenges. These challenges include the continued uncertainty over government funding, inflation increases and the rise in living costs for residents.
The proposed draft budget is balanced over the medium term, the council predicts a £7.2 million budget gap from 2025/26 and it is anticipated that the authority will need to use its reserves in later years.
There is no increase in green waste charges or car parking fees for residents.
Resources have been allocated for the production of the new Local Plan 2020-2041 to ensure Harborough district is protected from speculative development. A budget of £1.1 million has been allocated to produce the Local Plan but to ensure it is ready to meet the government’s June 2025 deadline an additional estimated budget of £1.9 million will be required.
A waste contract extension due to changes in the disposal of waste will cost a further £400,000 per annum from 2027/28.
The progression towards meeting the council’s net zero commitment continues and has resulted in savings being identified from installing solar panels at Harborough Innovation Centre and a review of options for the future use of The Symington Building, the council’s offices. The council has reduced carbon emissions by 37% from its baseline year in 2019/2020.
Proposals have also been put forward to increase Harborough District Council’s share of Council Tax by 2.99%, £5.32 a year or 10.2p a week for a Band D property, in Harborough district.
The council will continue with its Capital Programme over the next four years, which will see investment in local projects up to £28.2 million. These projects include the development of Lutterworth Town Centre Heritage Action Zone, potential investment into solar farms and homeless provision, as well as various enhancement and refurbishment works to Harborough (£4 million) and Lutterworth (£1 million) leisure centres through the new contract with Everyone Active.
A new position has also been created which will focus on community engagement and will work with all council services to ensure local communities are kept informed and can effectively relay their views back to the council.
Cllr Mark Graves, Harborough District Council’s Cabinet lead for Finance Services, said: “As a new administration we have worked hard to develop a balanced and sustainable budget despite recognised challenges. Inevitably there is a proposal for Council Tax to rise, however, we are committed to providing quality services, supporting residents in the greatest need, securing good growth to benefit everyone in the Harborough district and tackle climate change. We invite people to tell us their views on the priorities we have set and our proposals to make sound financial decisions now to protect services in the future. I am particularly pleased that we have managed to freeze green bin charges and car parking charges this year for residents.”
On 15 January 2024, Harborough District Council’s Cabinet considered the Draft Budget 2024/25 and the Medium-Term Financial Strategy (2025/26 to 2028/29). At the meeting, Leader of Harborough District Council, Cllr Phil Knowles, asked that in advance of the next Cabinet meeting officers investigate provision of free car parking on Saturdays in December 2024, look into a new planning compliance officer and look at a budget resource to enable the council to bid for external funding when opportunities exist for the benefit of residents.
Cabinet agreed that the draft budget should move to consultation.
On 12 February 2024, Cabinet will agree its formal recommendations on the proposed budget to Council for consideration on 26 February 2024.
In the meantime, residents and businesses can have their say on the proposals at www.harborough.gov.uk/budget-consultation until 9am on 12 February 2024.
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