Council agrees 2019/20 budget

The council's 2019/20 budget was approved by Full Council last night (Monday 4 February).

Budget announcement

Councillors approved a report setting out how the council will deliver a balanced budget for the financial year ahead, despite a further reduction in the core grant the council receives from central government - a cumulative 64% cut in funding since 2010.

Increased income from the council's property portfolio and the retention of a larger share of business rates will continue to protect frontline services.

£16m will be invested into the continued regeneration of both town centres and for a new splash park facility at Stanborough Park North. A further £12m will be allocated towards providing more affordable housing in the borough, and another £12m will be used to improve the council's existing housing stock.

Councillors agreed to draw down a small amount from General Fund reserves to close the budget gap, but as a result of funding reductions and a commitment to continue protecting services, Band D council tax is set to rise by just over £5 (2.5%) to £211.77 per year.

Cllr Duncan Bell, Executive Member for Resources, said:

We face tough financial choices - as do councils everywhere. It is always difficult to raise council tax, but this year it will be supported by our reserves to help close the budget gap.

Overall, this budget puts us in a good position to continue providing value for money for local taxpayers and protect the services that people rely on every day. We're also investing millions to deliver on projects we know residents want to see: better town centres, neighbourhoods and leisure facilities.

A special council meeting on 25 February will set council tax for 2019/20, including the amounts charged by Hertfordshire County Council, the police, and town and parish councils.