THE borough council’s draft budget for 2011/12 has been published and so far there are no plans to cut services or increase council tax.
The council will once again have to grapple with a £681,000 decrease in income from the Government. To make up for the shortfall the council has vacated some of its properties next to the Benn Hall, will be raising planning application fees by 15 per cent and spending £250,000 less on waste collection – a move the authority says should not affect services.
Almost £77,000 is also being saved through other means including voluntary redundancies, changes to contractor charges and a cut in business rates. Council tax will remain frozen thanks to a Government grant.
Council leader Cllr Craig Humphrey (Con) said: “Thanks to prudent financial management, all the indications are we will be able to set another balanced budget next year, and without cutting a single service. We will continue to explore new ways of working that will make us more efficient and mean that we are less reliant on our government grant while protecting services our residents value.”
The council, which has a total income of around £13.5m, will also be boosted by about £900,000 from the Government’s New Homes Bonus Incentive. The Government will match the council tax raised from new homes for six years to encourage house building and boost the economy.
Cllr Jerry Roodhouse, Rugby Lib Dem leader, said: “My main concerns this year were keeping council tax down and also the rising costs of rent for council owned properties.
“Thankfully the majority of difficult decisions were made last year. This year we have the added support of the New Homes Bonus - I’d like to see the money from that go towards reducing rent or even building some squash courts for the new leisure centre.”
Cllr Jim Shera, Rugby Labour leader added: “The Labour group will be keeping our eye on the ruling group to make sure there are no service cuts or job losses at the council.”