How the 2023/24 Town Council budget affects your Council Tax
Published: 14 February 2023
**See video below**
Cllr Steve Buck, Town Mayor
Many of you will know that each winter, local Councils must set a budget and decide on the amount of money needed to fund services through council tax.
Our town is going through a period of change and growth and, as your elected representives, we’re very aware that the Town Council needs to continue the high-quality services and facilities that residents rightly expect.
But the reality is that the cost-of-living crisis is impacting every part of our daily lives, and all of us face increased costs for necessities and services. The council faces increases across all areas of spending including staffing, energy and every other element of our operations.
In addition, you may have seen that the Council has come to a point where many significant contracts are concluding, and we are securing new contractors for some services. Unfortunately, these contracts have come for a renewal now, and the costs have been heavily impacted by inflation.
Cllr Jon Smith
Your feedback in our recent Residents Survey has been invaluable, and we acknowledge that there are some areas we need improve or evolve.
We have delivered a rejuvenated the MUGA (Multi Use Games Area) down at Riverside Playing Field, and in coming months a new tennis net will be installed adjacent to the all weather pitch for some summer sport.
Arlesey Road has seen the installation of new gym and play equipment along with a new enclosed and illuminated Multi Use Games Area, enhancing this provision within the town.
Whilst we still have exciting projects to deliver next year, we will be scaling back some of the capital projects we had planned, deferring these until economic stability returns.
Cllr Steve Hayes, Deputy Town Mayor
I know the move of the library from its current location at the Simpson Centre to here in the Greenacre Centre has been a controversial topic.
However, maintaining the library provision within our town supports a wide demographic of residents. It also allows us to offset the running cost of the building against this rental income, whilst providing it a new home in a modern building.
Following the pandemic, the return of social groups to the building hadn’t increased sufficiently, meaning the rising energy costs were a burden to the town on a mainly under utilised space.
Cllr Glen Russell
We take our roles seriously and have looked hard at how we deliver services on your behalf. The reality of a growing town is that we need to expand our services and to adopt the new areas as part of our community, ensuring we support everyone who lives here in Stotfold.
Recently, we’ve taken over the management of the green spaces around the Greenacre Centre and a new wild trail area behind Taylor’s Road development will mean we have to do more to manage our green spaces responsibly.
All of our committees were asked to set budgets for the forthcoming year, listening to our residents through conversations, our recent surveys and our Corporate Strategic Plan. However, due to how things are economically, we were tasked to manage what we could realistically deliver, whilst planning for times ahead when more stability returns.
Cllr Steve Buck, Town Mayor
As Councillor Russell mentioned, we reviewed and scaled back where we could, and the council has adopted a budget that we feel is a compromise.
Across the board we have a 39% increase on Band D property, which in real money is an increase of £1.34 per week.
Increases to council tax are never welcome and we understand that this decision will be open to criticism. Our challenge is how to expand our services, addressing needs in the community, whilst operating in an impossible financial situation.
Cllr Talvinder Bhasin
We are proud of our town, and thank you for listening and understanding. As a Town Council we will continue to work hard and efficiently on your behalf.