Rochford District Council agrees its 2019/20 budget

Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Rochford District Council has set a budget for 2019/2020 which aims to deliver high quality services and value for money for residents.


The authority is seeking to build on its strong history of financial prudence and has identified savings of £400,000 for the next financial year through measures including the introduction of new income streams such as animal licensing and weddings at the ‘Old House’ in Rochford.


The residual funding gap of £300,000 has necessitated a small increase in Rochford District’s Council Tax for the 2019/20 financial year, which equates to 13 pence per week on a Band D property. 


This means that there will be a 2.98% rise in the Council Tax element which goes to Rochford District Council, an increase from £223.65 in 2018/2019 to £230.31 in 2019/2020 for the average band D property.


Rochford District Council has also developed an innovative Asset Strategy which anticipates a reduction of future costs in excess of £300,000 a year over the medium term, through the rationalisation and regeneration of six of its strategic sites.


This will help ensure Rochford District remains in a sound financial position for the future, despite financial pressures including the removal of the Revenue Support Grant, population growth, inflation and increasing demand for its services.


In a recent Budget Survey, which ran for six weeks until January 13, 2019, residents highlighted that they felt the Council should pursue income generation and act commercially where possible, whilst reducing costs and pursuing different ways of working. These responses were fed into the budget-setting process and the Council would like to thank all the respondents who took part.


Leader of the Council, Cllr Terry Cutmore, said: “We have a long history at Rochford District Council of being prudent with tax payers’ money, and currently have no borrowing at all. This common sense approach continues with the setting of the budget for the 2019/2020 financial year. 


“At the same time, we are always horizon-scanning, looking for new opportunities for economic growth that will benefit local residents and businesses alike, as well as supporting the finances of the Council. With this in mind, the authority has developed an innovative Asset Strategy for its six strategic sites, with the Outline Business Case for this programme set go to before Full Council later this month.”


Portfolio Holder for Finance, Cllr Simon Smith, said: “I would like to thank the Councillors from all parties and the council officers who have worked so hard to balance the budget for the 2019/2020 financial year. We have had to introduce a small increase to our element of the Council Tax this year however we do seek to keep costs as low as possible for residents while also providing the best service we possibly can.”


“Although we are the authority that collects Council Tax, the total bill residents pay funds not only the district council’s expenditure but also the police and fire services, as well as county, parish and town councils, who all set their own Council Tax rates.”