It was unanimously agreed by all 54 councillors present to proceed with the 1.9% increase in council tax for 2013/14. It was also agreed, although not unanimously, to proceed with the savings identified in the council’s Root and Branch Review programme of approximately £9.1 million along with the additions to the capital programme, which includes projects largely funded by central government such as the building of a new primary school in Leominster and the Yazor Brook flood alleviation scheme in Hereford.
Councillor John Jarvis, leader of Herefordshire Council, said: “We have openly stated that we are facing a challenging time with many difficult decisions ahead of us if we are to balance our budgets, while continuing to deliver services to the most vulnerable residents in the county.”
“After being able to freeze council tax across Herefordshire for the last two years, we have made the difficult decision to implement a 1.9% increase for the next financial year. In real terms, this will mean a rise of 44p a week or £22.90 a year for a Band D property. Although the increase will generate approximately £1.4 million a year, it won’t cover the reductions in our central government funding, which truly highlights the difficulties we face.”
“We are also looking to deliver savings to council services in the region of £9.1 million in the next financial year. We have purposely consulted with residents over the last few months to find out what they would like us to provide and the results will enable us to ensure we deliver quality services and value for money across Herefordshire.”
“While we may also need to reduce some staff posts over the next 12 months, a number of these will be through natural wastage, where staff have voluntarily left the organisation and not been replaced. We will ensure we have the right staff in place to deliver the quality services our residents need across the county.”
To read the proposal which was presented to council, please visit our council agenda page.