Mansfield District Council is due to agree its annual budget and medium term financial strategy to help achieve its ambitions for transforming Mansfield district over the next 10 years.
The council recently approved its community plan, Making Mansfield: Towards 2030, which sets out the council’s vision to ‘grow an ambitious, vibrant and confident place’.
The 2020/21 budget, which will be considered by councillors at Full Council on Wednesday 22 January, is designed to help the council deliver its future ambitions under the priority areas of Aspiration, Growth, Wellbeing and Place.
A total of £892,000 in savings have been made out of a net budget requirement of £10million in order to balance the budget at a time of increased demand on services and historical low levels of funding from central government.
Savings are earmarked to come through additional income from business rates, an additional one-off government grant, reduced insurance costs, reductions in pension contributions, income from rent from investment properties and a proposed 2.7% increase in Council Tax.
The rise in the district council’s element of Council Tax would be the first since 2010/11, at which time central government provided financial incentives for councils to freeze their Council Tax levels.
The proposed increase means those living in Band A properties would pay a total of £126.48 a year – which works out at just 35 pence a day for all the services provided by Mansfield District Council. For the vast majority of our residents, who live in Band A properties, it means they would pay an extra £3.33 a year to help maintain vital council services in the district.
Executive Mayor Andy Abrahams said: “We regret that we have to raise Council Tax by 2.7%, which will bring in an extra £147,000. However this is part of our strategy to bring the council’s finances into a stable position going forward.
“Government funding has reduced by 61% over the past ten years and the danger is that if we don’t raise much-needed funds through Council Tax, the Government will consider we don’t need this money in future and it will affect future funding for our district.”
In spite of this reduction in government funding, the council has committed to building 300 affordable and council homes over the next five years.
The Mayor said: “Construction stimulates the economy and will make sure we keep our aspirations on track.
“Our Green agenda means these homes will be as close as possible to being carbon neutral and our new procurement policy will ensure that contracts will better support local businesses and increase training opportunities to generate more wealth locally.”
The first major project under the council’s Green agenda is the introduction of kerbside glass recycling collections, which the council has been working towards for several years following extensive discussions with Nottinghamshire County Council. Residents will receive a letter to their homes over the coming weeks with further information about collections, which are due to start at the end of May.
Among the items that will be proposed by the Portfolio Holder for Corporate and Finance, Cllr Craig Whitby, at the Full Council meeting are revised fees and charges. Following a reduction in council housing rent over the past few years, an increase of 2.7% increase, in line with Government guidelines, is proposed. Any income from council rent goes towards improving council housing within the district.
The majority of the increases in fees and charges are in line with inflation.
The Mayor said: “We are pleased that we have been able to make a small reduction for market stall holders in order to encourage take up.
“We have tried to spread the burden of balancing the budget by making small charges such as charging £1 a day to use Mansfield Woodhouse train station car park with the first two hours free; a reduction in the number of editions of My Mansfield residents’ magazine from three to two a year, and there has been a small increase in the booking fee at the Palace Theatre.”
Although Mansfield District Council collects Council Tax, it does so on behalf of Nottinghamshire County Council, Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Notts Fire and Rescue Authority (and Warsop Parish Council if you live in Warsop). The total Council Tax bill will be confirmed on 3 March once all the elements are known.
Only 10 pence in every £1 paid by Mansfield residents comes to the district council, 90 pence goes to the county council and other organisations.
For this money, Mansfield District Council provides residents with a wide range of vital services. They include:
- Emptying 10,000 bins daily
- Recycling and composting 13,264 tonnes of waste each year
- Sweeping 2,433 tonnes of rubbish from 579 miles of streets
- Managing and maintaining 150 parks and open spaces, covering 260 hectares
- Supporting the most vulnerable members of our community. In the past year, the council has worked with 1,069 people to help prevent them from becoming homeless.