Have your say on Rother's budget plans

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Have your say on Rother's budget plans

People in Rother are being asked to help shape a council's budget plans as it faces a continuing financial squeeze.

Rother District Council is proposing using £2 million of its reserves to help plug a £3.2 million funding gap caused by continuing Government funding cuts and rising costs.

The authority is also proposing increasing its share of council tax for the fifth year in a row - meaning Band D households could pay up to £5 a year extra - and making further efficiency savings.

However, despite increasing its income through measures such as investment in property, the council is warning it may have to reduce, outsource, share or start charging for some of the services it's not legally obliged to provide.

People are being asked to give their views on the proposals and which services they most value in a public consultation which runs until Friday, January 31 2020.

Cllr Doug Oliver, Rother District Council leader, said: "We've set out a bold vision to deliver 1,000 new homes over the next 15 years and to become carbon neutral by 2030.

"We're still operating in a very difficult financial climate, so to achieve our ambitions while continuing to live within our means, we have no choice but to make some difficult decisions.

"Dipping into our reserves will help us to bridge the gap in the short-term but to ensure we can continue to provide a balanced budget we need to cut costs or increase income in the years to come.

"I'd encourage people to take part in the consultation so we can ensure their views are taken into account when we make a decision on our budget in the New Year."

The council has already saved £1.8 million since 2015 through efficiency savings, reducing, finding alternative providers or sharing some services and increasing its income from commercial properties.

The funding gap for next year will be higher than expected, partly because of a global rise in costs in the waste and recycling industry which will cost the council around £2 million more than expected.

The council is expecting to receive an extra £454,000 in 2020-21 from income generated from properties it has acquired as part of the investment strategy. This is on top of the extra £673,000 derived from this source in the current financial year.

Raising council tax by £5 for a Band D property - the expected maximum allowed without holding a public referendum - would deliver an extra £191,000 a year.

People can view the proposals and take part in the consultation online at www.rother.gov.uk/budget2020 or collect a printed copy from community help points at Battle or Rye Libraries or Bexhill Town Hall and return it to the council.

Published on Wednesday, December 18 2019

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