Finance bosses will raise council tax by nearly five per cent – and borrow £10 million from reserves – to balance next year’s budget.
Rotherham Borough Council is set to increase the levy by 4.99 per cent – just below the five per cent threshold for a local referendum. The increase includes three per cent which is ring-fenced for adult social care and follows a 3.95 per cent total hike last year.
This will generate a total of £95 million in council tax for RMBC for 2017/18 – equivalent to 46 per cent of the revenue budget. And it will mean band D properties paying £1,394 for the council’s services next year compared to £1277.42 for the previous year. An increase of £166.57 pa or £2.24 per week.
Most homes in Anston are in Council Tax Band ‘B’ currently paying £1277.14 per year. The increase means these homeowners will pay an extra £63.73 per year-equivalent to £1.22 per week.
RMBC’s reserves stood at £99.7 million at the start of the current financial year last April. Before Christmas, bosses proposed taking £5.2 million to help with budget pressures over the next two years. Now they are suggesting taking a further £5.3 million – mostly to help with children’s services.
The Chief finance manager-Peter Hudson-said: “The council currently has a healthy balance of reserves to mitigate overall budget risk in the short term and to support the budget in the medium term. The proposals include replenishing reserves that are being used and hence support a sustainable financial plan. In essence, the strategy is to use some reserves earlier than was previously planned and to replenish them later.”
The plans also include a repayment back into the pot of £3 million a year from 2018/19.
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said local authorities would be permitted to increase council tax by up to 6% over two years, ringfenced for social care, with a maximum of 3% each year. He added “We’ve also just announced an extra £900m for social care, meaning they will have a total of £7.6bn to spend over four years.”
Council tax accounts for only about half of local authority income – the rest coming from central grants and business rates.