At a full Council meeting held on Tuesday 25 February, Councillor Paul Mason, Cabinet Member for Finance, announced the 2020/21 budget. The budget has included a modest increase in council tax of just £5 a year, bringing the annual charge for an average property to £138.24 (less than £3 a week).
This modest increase means that the residents of the Borough will, once again pay the lowest council tax in England (when Parish Precepts are included).
Although the Council is responsible for collecting council tax, it only keeps a very small percentage of the amount collected. The council tax collected is divided between Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) receiving 80.8% of the total bill and the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire (PCC) receiving 11.3%. Broxbourne Borough Council retains only 7.9%.
The Council’s prudent management of its resources has not only delivered a balanced 2020/21 budget, whilst protecting all its services. It has also allowed the Council to develop a viable solution which will allow Lowewood Museum to remain open and be run by a team of volunteers.
£50,000 has also been allocated to the Environmental Sustainability Panel, to support its work and any initiatives identified. The Environmental Sustainability Panel is working on a programme which will see extensive tree planting in the Borough and installation of Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Points.
One hour parking charges have been frozen at £1, and provisions are in place to ensure greater consistency in charges across all Borough car parks.
A provision has also been made to fund the carrying out of a residents’ survey, which will provide the Council with valuable insights, which will be used to inform major decisions in the future.
In addition, 2020 marks 75 years since the end of the Second World War. A one-off budget has been approved to pay for a variety of events and initiatives to commemorate the anniversary of VE Day within the Borough. These events will be communicated accordingly.
Councillor Mason said, “We will continue to face challenges and potentially more difficult decisions over the coming years if we are to successfully manage our financial position and continue to set balanced budgets. We need to maximise our potential and make the most of the key, and sometimes unique, skills and opportunities we have as a Council.”