Council sets out proposed robust budget for future generations
Published: Tuesday, 22nd January 2019
The proposed budget for 2019/20 sets out investment for services that matter to our residents as well as ensuring front line services are protected.
The proposals include significant investments in parks and infrastructure including roads and community facilities.
The budget also proposes at 2.99% increase in the council’s element of Council Tax which keeps it the lowest outside of London while ensuring key services like weekly bin collections remain.
Councillor MJ Saunders, cabinet member for finance, said: “I am delighted that we are able to present a budget which reflects on residents’ needs as well as what they would like our council to invest in.
“Officers have been working hard on this budget throughout the year and like all councils we have experienced challenging financial positions. We have also had to allow for the uncertainty around Brexit and how that may impact on the council and the services we provide.
“We have also seen increasing demand and cost associated with providing children services, adult services and children in care which is expected to continue in 2019/20 and our budget reflects that changing position.
“Through our capital programme we have been able to invest in a variety of key resident services including additional funding for parks and roads which reflect back on the findings from the residents’ survey.
“We will continue to provide residents with value for money services as well as investing in facilities and infrastructure for today and the next generation.”
The council budget will be discussed at all scrutiny panels with the first one being children’s services overview and scrutiny panel on Tuesday 29 January at the Town Hall, Maidenhead. The budget will then be debated by Full Council on 26 February in the Town Hall, Maidenhead.
Parking charges have been reviewed as well as a range of fees and charges for council services. Parking charges will be increased except when using an Advantage Card, protecting Royal Borough residents from fee increases. Further season tickets are also going to be released for Hines Meadow and Stafferton Way car parks to ensure those who work in the borough are able to park close to their place of work or transport links.
Councillor Simon Dudley, leader of the council, says: “I am delighted that this year’s budget reflects what our residents have said in the residents’ survey as well as ensuring we have measures in place to deal with the uncertainty around Brexit and the increasing demands on adults and children’s services.
“However, following the central Government announcement in December we have been able to re-position the budget. The announcement provided assistance with the removal of negative revenue support grant as well as allowing us to continue with the business rate retention scheme. This allows us to retain 75% of the funds from business rate collection.
“The regeneration programme in Maidenhead is now underway and our investment supports the town as it continues to rejuvenate into a town centre as the place to work, live and enjoy.
“I am committed to protecting front line services for our residents as well as ensuring that we deliver what they consider important through the findings from the residents’ survey.”
The highlights of the budget proposals include over £25 million pounds in capital investment:
- Investing in community infrastructure with over £2.9 million including:
£83,000 on Christmas lights with new lights in Old Windsor and continued investment in Maidenhead and Windsor.
£150,000 for improving the Guildhall which includes render, windows and redecorating.
£20,000 on new wayfinding signs in Maidenhead as the regeneration programme continues with new sites like Chapel Arches, Maidenhead waterways and the amphitheatre.
- Investing in our resident facilities with over £10.1 million including:
£350,000 refurbishing Clewer Memorial Pavilion improving toilets and sports storage facilities.
£250,000 for a community café in Dedworth.
£300,000 on Ockwells Park – installation of children’s play area and an extension to the car park.
£150,000 on the new Battlemead Common – installation of parking, footpaths and seating.
Over £200,000 is being invested in our libraries to provide an improved service to our residents.
£200,000 on improvements at our waste transfer and recycling facilities at Vicus Way and Tinkers Lane.
- Investing in roads and our highways network with over £12.7 million including:
£1.2 million on maintaining our bridges including £900,000 on strengthening Elizabeth Bridge on Royal Windsor Way as well as refurbishment to Cookham Bridge.
£1.9m on investing in our roads including pot hole repairs and resurfacing.
£180,000 on replacing and improving the junction at Dedworth Road/Hatch Lane and Parsonage Lane.
£240,000 on extending Boulters Lock car park
£150,000 on road safety schemes across the borough to improve road safety and reduce the number of injuries caused by road accidents.
The proposed increase in the council’s element of Council Tax by 2.99% will see a Band D property rise to £961.33 which is an increase of £27.91 from last year which is just over 50p a week. The Adult Social Care levy remains the same from previous years at £74.74 for a Band D property and the levy has seen a £20.7 million investment since 2015/16 when it was first introduced.
The total budget for the council next year is £80.6 million which includes spending on adults and children’s services, weekly bin collections and recycling and waste contracts, CCTV, tree inspections, libraries, leisure centres, arts and culture provision, bus routes and parking.
Read the proposed budget papers in full here.