Council Tax levels across Wrexham could soon rise to 3.9% to help offset the impact of the multi million pound cuts being made.
Currently Wrexham Council’s total budget is £232 million, with £58 million of that due to be raised by Council Tax and £174m via the Welsh Government settlement.
However it is thought that an increase in Council Tax will generate an extra £682k, which combined with the final Welsh Government settlement will result in an increase of £1.15m over figures predicted at the end of 2017.
Council Leader Mark Pritchard said such a tax increase will help create a ‘safe budget’ for Wrexham, and that he was ‘delighted’ with the 3,797 responses to the ‘Difficult Decisions’ public consultation last year.
He explained: “We have a council plan and will not move away from it. We have been able to increase money into adult social care and schools. The only department without an increase is the finance department – that is an office with some staff.”
“We started the process last year and have listened to what the people of Wrexham have said. Feedback was a mixed bag but nothing really surprised me, and has come back much as I thought it would.”
Initially the budget proposals were based off a 3% increase, with a budget shortfall of approximately £13m for 2018-2020 expected.
Cllr Pritchard also described the 3.9% increase as “a fair setting for the people of Wrexham.”
In the recent public consultation response summary, 34% of people said they would agree to a rise higher than 3% but not higher than 5%, with 50% supporting the then planned rise of 3%.
125 people are listed as making a comment along the lines of “Council Tax should not be increased / Council tax is too high already” with 87 saying something along the lines of “Agree to increase / support paying more to protect services”.
The full budget documents ahead of Executive Board meeting can be found here on the Council website.
As with other budget proposals, this is still formally a suggested option however will likely have full Executive Board support next week meaning it will then be taken forward to Full Council. That is the point where all Councillors get to have their say on their plans, and get to vote – assuming they attend.
The Executive Board meeting is on Tuesday starting at 10am, and will be webcast. The Full Council meeting is on Wednesday, 21st February, at 4pm and will also be webcast.
Related stories today on the new budget proposals include…
– Wrexham Council Tax proposed to rise by 3.9% to help offset impact of cuts
– “We have listened” – Bin changes & £4 a day Work Opportunities ‘wage’ cuts scrapped in budget proposals
– Cuts to school music service toned down with £50k “means tested pot of money” to provide some services
– Schools budget proposed to get 1.4% increase rather than 0% – Letters from schools reveal despair at original plans
– Plans to cut Council PCSO funding half shelved – Wrexham remains ‘only authority to fund them in North Wales’