Splash park and housing on council budget agenda for 2019

PUBLISHED: 16:00 31 December 2018 | UPDATED: 12:34 02 January 2019

Stanborough Park. Picture: DANNY LOO

Stanborough Park. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2018 Danny Loo Photography - all rights reserved

Welwyn Hatfield council’s cabinet will meet soon to consider 2019’s budget proposals - some of which will be paid for with a small council tax increase.

According to the council, Welwyn Hatfield has had a cumulative 64 per cent cut in funding from central government since 2010, but with the budget to be considered on Tuesday, January 8, they will still balance the books.

The council hopes to achieve this in numerous ways, including a council tax increase, greater income from property and business rates, and dipping into reserve funds.

There is a proposal to increase the borough council’s share of average Band D council tax by just over £5, or 2.5 per cent, to £211.77 per year.

“This increase is below the rate of inflation and also lower than the 3 per cent maximum allowed,” said a council spokesperson.

Welwyn Hatfield also gets a boost in how much it keeps from business rate growth, as Hertfordshire is one of 15 areas selected for a pilot scheme to keep 75 per cent, rather than just 50 per cent, of business rate growth, which would otherwise go back to central government.

The report to Cabinet also includes long-term proposals.

Sixteen million pounds is proposed for investment in the council’s capital programme for the continued regeneration of both town centres, and for a new splash park facility at Stanborough Park North.

A further £24million is proposed to be split equally between providing more affordable housing and improving existing council housing.

The council aims to commit an additional £490,000 annually to services, as well as a one-off fund of £240,000 to help boost service improvement.

Cllr Duncan Bell, executive member for resources, said: “By the end of March, we will have delivered over £15million in savings since 2010, enabling us to respond to an increasing demand for services and protect our frontline operations.

“At the same time, we recognise that we must keep investing in our town centres to ensure our local economy continues to thrive. We have many exciting and ambitious plans for the borough set to come to fruition in 2019.”

After the January 8 cabinet meeting, the budget proposals will be considered by the full council on February 4 before council tax is finally set on February 25.

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