Councillors in Poole have agreed the council’s budget for local services and the level of Council Tax for 2018/19.
Council Tax bills in Poole will remain the lowest in Dorset, despite further reductions cuts in government funding and increasing demand for services.
At a Council meeting on Tuesday 20 February, councillors approved the budget which prioritises investment in services for vulnerable people and protects important frontline services.
The budget includes a 2.99% core increase in Council Tax, plus a 3% rise permitted by the government to fund adult social care. It means the annual bill for a Band D property will be £1,399.68 from 1 April, excluding the additional charges for police and fire services, a rise of £79.11 a year, or £1.52 a week. It represents only the third increase in Council Tax in Poole in eight years.
By 2020, government funding for local services in Poole will have reduced by £36m a year compared with 2010. The reduction in government funding coupled with a rising demand for services means the council must find savings of £20.5 million over the next three years.
The council’s budget for 2018/19:
- manages a further £3.6 million reduction in annual government funding to Poole
- manages a total cut of £33 million a year in government funding since 2010/11
- invests an additional £3 million for social care services and provides an extra £200,000 for homelessness services
- provides no increase in Members’ Allowances
Cllr May Haines, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Finance, Borough of Poole, said: “This budget puts us on a more sustainable footing to face the further financial challenges ahead. Further reductions in government funding and increasing demand for services mean we have had to take difficult decisions, including raising Council Tax for only the third time in eight years. However, we continue to prioritise our spending on caring for the most vulnerable members of our community and we remain committed to protecting frontline services as much as we possibly can.
“Although we have had to manage substantial reductions to our funding from central government, we continue to maintain services and have seized on opportunities to bid for alternative funding. To date we’ve secured more than £60 million for specific projects to regenerate the town centre, fund improvements to our cherished parks and open spaces, and provide much-needed investment in our roads and infrastructure that will boost our local economy. At the same time, we continue to find ways of making our services, especially our back office functions, even more efficient.”