No cuts to public services after balanced budget agreed for 2018/19
To achieve that balance whilst maintaining services, the Council is implementing a strategy to modernise services and secure efficiencies alongside being more commercial and business minded whilst generating additional income to replace the cuts in central Government funding.
SSDC's ambitious Transformation Programme is beginning to deliver savings which will rise to at least £2.5m a year by 2019. Alongside Transformation, the Council is taking a commercial approach that has started to generate additional revenue and this will be used to support and maintain the full range of council services. Beyond that, additional income is planned to play a major part in much needed town centre Regeneration projects across the District.
As part of the budget, Councillors voted to increase SSDC's element of the Council Tax bill by £5 a year, raising our annual Band D charge which is in line with inflation by 3.18% (£162.48 a year or £3.12 per week). The new charge includes £160.63 for all South Somerset District Council services (£3.08 per week) plus £1.85 a year for the Somerset Rivers Authority to assist with additional Flood prevention work across our County.
Councillor Ric Pallister, Leader of South Somerset District Council, said "I am delighted every councillor from across our three political groups chose to find a way to tackle the challenge of swinging cuts to our Revenue Support Grant from central Government and agreed to a balanced budget this financial year. Other Councils are cutting services to balance the books but in South Somerset services are being maintained and modernised. I am proud to be a part of the journey we are on, knowing that within a very short period of time we will be able to accelerate our regeneration, economic and community activities by investing more in our District".
Councillor Peter Seib, Portfolio Holder for Finance, added "The District Council delivers around 50 services for local people all year round and in all weathers. Whilst tax payers will see a £5 yearly increase in Council Tax for those services provided, we are still able to deliver them all for less than two-thirds of the cost of a BT telephone line rental or basic Sky subscription - great value for money when you evaluate what is being delivered".
South Somerset District Council's share of the overall Council tax bill is about 10% of the total, with the remainder going to fund Somerset County Council, Police and Fire services, and Town and Parish Councils.