Leader's Update March 2012
From Cllr Lynden Stowe
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Council Tax and Car Parking Charges Frozen for Next Three Years
I am delighted to tell you that the Council has approved plans for the 2012-13 Financial Year which will see a freeze in Council tax for the second year running, no price rises in parking charges or green waste collections for the next three years, and the introduction of kerbside recycling of all rigid plastics across the district for the very first time. Overall, the Council will be making cuts to its budget worth £850,000 but there will be no impact on frontline services.
We have succeeded in meeting this kind of economic challenge in the past and we believe we can rise to the occasion again. I am particularly pleased that we are able to freeze Council tax for a second year in a row, thanks in part to a one-off central government grant of almost £140,000, and we’ve also made a commitment that Council Tax will remain at this same level during 2013-14 and 2014-15. There’s also great news for motorists – there will be no price increases in charges at our car parks across the district for the next three years.
The introduction of rigid plastic collections is a great step forward for the district and will follow on from the launch of Ubico Ltd, the local authority environmental service which is a joint initiative with Cheltenham Borough Council and comes into being later this year. Recycling all rigid plastics – not just bottles as originally proposed - should maintain our position as one of the top five recycling authorities in the country. This will also be helped by our decision to freeze the price of green waste licences for the next three years – the cost will continue to be £30 per year which is a real bargain.
I would like to thank the staff at the Council for the success they have achieved with their efficiency programmes over the last few years: We need to continue looking for more savings as we strive to be recognised as the most efficient local authority in the country - our officers are becoming experts in the art of doing more with less, and we’re confident they can continue in this vein. In the year ahead, we will see further sharing of services and joint working with other authorities, including areas such as back office functions and environmental services. We will also continue to derive benefits from a range of improved processes and service redesigns which will reduce red tape, and modernise practices, and we’ll be introducing further cost-effective building management and usage.
I must also applaud the taxpayers in the Cotswolds for the part they have played in delivering this good economic news. Over 99% of tax due was collected from homes and businesses last financial year – this is one of the top collection rates in the country. As a ‘thankyou’ to the householders and businesses in the district, we are bringing in a variation to the direct debit payment system which will enable you to pay for your Council Tax or Business Rates in instalments over 12 months as well as the usual 10 months option. You can either decide to continue enjoying a payment holiday for two months or smooth their outgoings so that you pay a smaller amount each month of the year.
Councillor Lynden Stowe,
Leader Cotswold District Council
Lynden Stowe firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone: 01285 623 882