West Norfolk Council’s budget approved at meeting
Members of West Norfolk Council’s cabinet approved proposals for the authority’s 2018-2023 budget at a meeting on Tuesday.
The meeting heard the reports for the Financial Plan and Capital Programme and Resources for this period.
Lorraine Gore, deputy chief executive of the council, said: “The key messages from this report are that we are presenting a budget that we can fund through the period of this plan.”
She said the proposals include an increase in council tax per annum of £4.50 per Band D property.
Ms Gore added there is “significant uncertainty” from 2020/2021, with the impact of the implementation of the reform of the Business Rates Retention scheme and the Fair Funding Review from 2020/2021 are still unknown.
“We are working in an environment of being quite cautious,” she said.
According to the Financial Plan report, as at the end of November 2018, the council had achieved actual ongoing annual savings of £1.4m.
The report also states that car parking charges were last increased in April 2018 and will remain unchanged for 2019/2020.
Councillor Jim Moriarty spoke of the “NWES issue” regarding the King’s Lynn Innovation Centre (KLIC) and said: “We now have a building and we don’t have the £2.5m.”
Council leader Brian Long said reports were still due to be presented to the authority but allowances have to be made for the KLIC in the budget .
He said: “In terms of moving forward, the building in our control is at the moment, if I present it to council, to cabinet, with the opportunity to deliver all the things it delivers – an incubation space, an iconic building on the Nar Ouse Regeneration Area and also the potential for bringing other investment to that area – if I presented that with all its space rented, I doubt anybody would say that’s the wrong thing to do.”
Alistair Beales, cabinet member for corporate projects and assets, said he had had meetings with NWES about the final arrangements for KLIC which would be reported to the council in due course.
Cabinet member for environment Ian Devereux said about 47 per cent of Band D property council tax goes towards Internal Drainage Board (IDB) costs.
Mr Long said he would like to see levies from council tax paid to drainage boards itemised as a separate line entry on council tax bills so that the public, who live in an area where the water is managed, can see what they are paying for.
He said: “Without that level of intervention, most of the borough would not just be unfarmable but it would be uninhabitable.”
Mr Long said without the IDB costs, the borough council would be “bar none” the least expensive for council tax in the country.
The cabinet approved the budget proposals.