Council tax rise set to be lowered in Monmouthshire

By Saul Cooke-Black   |   BBC local democracy reporter   |
Thursday 24th February 2022 3:22 pm
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A planned council tax rise in Monmouthshire looks set to be lowered to 2.95 per cent following a public consultation.

Final budget proposals set to be decided by Monmouthshire councillors next week propose reducing the originally-planned increase of 3.95 per cent after concerns were raised by residents about the proposed hike.

This move will cost the local authority £608,000, but a report says it has been made possible due to several changes to the budget position.

A council report says the proposed council tax rise was a key issue raised by residents in a public consultation on the budget.

“A significant number of residents raising concern about the level of council tax increase proposed, especially in light of cost of living and inflationary pressures being experienced in households,” the report says.

“However, there was a recognition that the choices available to the council were limited in the face of significant pressures and inadequate funding being received from Welsh Government, especially on a per capita basis.”

Pressures on commercial investment income have been eased with the expectation of new tenants being confirmed for Castlegate and Newport Leisure Park, reducing a budget pressure by £408,000.

The council also expects to increase turnover at its solar farm by at least £300,000 due to the increase in electricity prices.

Making more use of short-term borrowing due to low interest rates will reduce anticipated costs by £250,000, while a non-teaching pay award has also been revised downwards saving £347,000.

The changes in the budget position also mean that the council will no longer need to use a contribution of £863,000 from reserves to balance the books.

An investment to address the longer-term housing needs of the homeless in the county, aimed at creating a more sustainable and cost effective approach has also been added to the council’s capital budget proposals.

An additional £627,000 has also been included for highways and transport infrastructure improvements.

Recommendations set to go before the council’s cabinet also include that the authority disposes of assets identified in a confidential report at best value.

The final budget plans will go before a cabinet meeting on Wednesday (March 2), before being considered for final approval at a full council meeting next Thursday (March 3).

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