B&NES council tax rises by nearly 4%

March 01 2020

THE amount you pay Bath and North East Somerset Council is set to go up by more than £55 in 2020/21.
Authority bosses say they are investing in key priority areas like tackling the climate emergency and delivering more affordable housing.
The biggest single sum in the budget for 2020/21 is the £18.3 million cost of implementing Bath’s clean air zone, and for mitigating the impact it will have on residents and businesses. The council expects central government to fund it in full but as yet that is unconfirmed.
This and other projects will be funded by a 3.98 per cent jump in council tax – half of that sum will go on council services, with the rest ring-fenced for adult social care.
The average band D property will pay £55.76 more than last year, equivalent to £1.07 extra per week.  
As well as increasing council tax, the authority also hopes to bring in extra income.
Budget papers say it will rent out spare office space to net another £270,000, and it wants to squeeze another £900,000 out of its celebrated museums. Bath’s famous spa waters could net it another £20,000.
Spending in the budget also includes:
l £323,000 for the climate emergency team so the council can ensure the whole district is carbon neutral by 2030
l £100,000 more for street cleaning, and £140,000 on litter enforcement – council leaders have previously hinted that the private sector “litter army” contract will not be renewed
l £42,000 for “stronger and more widespread” action on empty homes
l £25,000 to review planning guidance on homes in multiple occupation to ensure communities are sustainable
l An additional £25,000 for parks services for in-year pressures like grass cutting
l £60,000 to support the council’s tree and woodland strategy and tree planting
l £152,000 to support domestic violence and abuse services
l £119,000 to improve accountability, openness and engagement with local residents
And, after cabinet leaders voted to ban boaters from mooring at Mead Lane in Saltford, the council is spending £35,000 to survey the damage that has been caused to the riverbank.
The council is planning to make savings totalling £4.8 million by reviewing health and care contracts and changing how it works in several areas.
l Last month, the Voice reported that Keynsham Town Council had voted to increase its council tax precept by two per cent from April.
The rise means a Band D household will contribute £93.12 to the town council in 2020/21, up from £91.29 - an increase of 3.52p a week.
n  Boaters' fears: Pages 4 & 5