The continuing rollout of superfast broadband, extra support for more vulnerable residents and improvements in educational facilities all form part of Rutland County Council’s budget for 2018/19.
It was agreed at the full council meeting that the main portion of Rutland’s council tax bill will increase by 4.99 per cent, which is just below inflation.
This includes the Government’s social care levy of two per cent, which will be spent entirely on meeting the rising costs of support for more vulnerable residents. This includes services for older people, as well as residents who need mental health support or have a disability.
This is in line with increases being made by approximately 90 per cent of local authorities in England.
In Rutland, this takes the average Band D bill to £1,624 – an increase of £77 per year. People on low incomes will be shielded from much of the increase, paying on average £19.24 extra per year.
The budget includes money for the rollout of super-fast broadband. By the end of the year 95 out of 100 homes in Rutland will have access to some of the fastest internet speeds in the UK.
It also includes funding for the expansion of Oakham Enterprise Park, £700,000 for improving special educational facilities, while £221,000 will be spent on adapting homes for older people to help them stay independent.
The council is continuing to do everything possible to protect residents from reductions in Government funding along with the rising costs and demand for delivering services, particularly in areas like children’s and adult’s social care.
This year the Government has cut Rutland’s funding by £1.2m, while costs because of inflation have gone up by £1.3m. The increase in council tax will only meet part of this shortfall, with the remainder coming from savings in the way services are delivered more efficiently.
Since 2013 the council has lost £4m in government funding, while rising demand for services and inflation has increased costs by £10.5m.
Council tax has only increased three times in the past eight years because Rutland has become more efficient in the way it delivers services, taking £6.2m out of the budget.
This year a charge of £35 per bin for green waste collection is being introduced. That is below the national average of £42 imposed by other councils.
Leader of Rutland County Council Oliver Hemsley (Con) said: “Increasing council yax is not something that we do lightly.
“Rutland, like all councils, is facing the perfect storm of increased costs and loss of government funding.
“We are doing everything possible to shield our community from this by becoming a much more efficient council in the way services are delivered.
“Despite our financial challenges we are continuing to invest in areas that matter to our residents the most such as the roll out of superfast broadband and extra support for people who are more vulnerable.”
The overall budget approved by full council on Monday was £35.838m.