Car parking fees at Mansfield’s railway station could be increased and council tax raised by almost two per cent as the district council looks to plug a £1.3 million hole in its budget.
Mansfield District Council’s cabinet will receive recommendations from a scrutiny committee next week (13 December ) after revealing plans to meet the shortfall in the coming financial year.
The authority had already proposed increasing council tax by the maximum amount, using £300,000 of earmarked reserves and increasing some fees and charges to recoup an additional £104,000.
This came alongside a 50 per cent reduction in councillors’ ward allowances, to raise £18,000, and continuing the 10 per cent reduction in special responsibility allowances to provide £20,000.
But now the overview and scrutiny committee has urged the Labour administration to go further.
Documents published ahead of the cabinet meeting state the committee supports the 1.99 per cent council tax rise, which would “bring a sustainable income to the council”.
But the committee said it was aware of the “cumulative impact on residents” from a council tax rise, together with potential precept increases from other Nottinghamshire authorities and a rise in the general cost of living.
Members of the committee, documents state, felt there was “scope to deliver further savings”, urging investigations from the Labour-led executive.
This, they said, could remove the need to increase council tax or to use the earmarked reserves.
However, in further recommendations, the committee suggests increasing the cost of parking at Mansfield’s railway station to generate about £1,500 annually.
Under the proposals, a 24-hour ticket would rise from £3.60 to £4, while a five-day ticket would increase from £15 to £20.
The committee also suggested introducing a trade glass collection service, to increase income by £5,000, and supported plans for a two per cent rise in fees and charges.
It also supported the continued 10 per cent cut in special responsibility allowances – the extra expenses for key councillor roles – for a further year.
But the committee did not agree with the 50 per cent cut in councillors’ ward allowances, agreeing the scheme has a “significant impact on community groups and individuals” supported by the funding.
Plans to reduce the charge for garden waste collection from £31 to £26 were also rejected by the committee.
The recommendations will be discussed by the cabinet next Monday ahead of the authority putting together its full medium-term financial strategy.
The recommendations will also feed into the authority’s budget setting process in the spring.
Commenting in November, Councillor Craig Whitby, portfolio holder for corporate and finance, said: “It is not easy to put forward a proposal to increase council tax when we know the financial impact that coronavirus has had on so many people in our district.
“[The council tax rise] would bring in an extra £115,000 to help maintain vital council services.”
Documents in November stated the Covid-19 pandemic has created financial pressures in “almost all areas of the council”.
It comes, the documents said, as a result of increased expenditure, loss of income from fees and charges, and “lower-than-expected collection” of council tax and business rates.
If the 1.99 per cent council tax rise goes ahead, residents living in Band A properties – which make up almost 55 per cent of Mansfield’s homes – will pay an additional £2.58 per year to the council.
Nottinghamshire County Council, which collects the bulk of council tax receipts, as well as the Fire Authority and the Police and Crime Commissioner, are yet to decide on their precepts for 2022/23.