Northamptonshire County Council has today announced its final budget proposals for 2018/19.
The final budget proposals have been published to enable the County Council tax precepts to be set, but the spending plans may be subject to ongoing review following the Director of Finance’s decision last week to issue a Section 114 notice imposing immediate spending controls.
The notice has an impact on the current financial year and means no new expenditure is permitted, with the exception of safeguarding vulnerable people and statutory services, in light of the significant risk the council will not be in a position to deliver a balanced budget by the end of this financial year.
The final budget proposals for 2018/19 include a council tax increase of 5.98%, including the 3% adult social care precept and taking into account the additional 1% increase permitted by the Secretary of State as part of the provisional Local Government Settlement.
The budget also features a revised proposal for library services, which would see the introduction of a community-managed library model but with more support for interested groups.
Under the new proposal, the county council would continue to provide financial support to the library service during 2018/19 as a transition year. Community managed libraries will then be established from April 1st 2019, with the authority paying a further year of rent in 2019/20 and the community responsible for utility costs.
There are also revised proposals relating to Trading Standards and the County Connect and Call Connect on-demand bus services.
County council leader Cllr Heather Smith said: “We have a duty to announce our final budget proposals today to allow the council tax precept to be set, but there has to be an understanding that revisions may be required given the Section 114 notice issued last week.
“Given the uncertainty in this year’s budget and the potential impact on the current year’s spending, the budget for 2018/19 will clearly be under constant review.
“We are legally bound to set a budget for the coming financial year but the challenge we are now facing is unprecedented and there will no doubt be difficult decisions to be made over the coming weeks and months.”
Cabinet will meet to discuss the final budget proposals next Tuesday (February 13th). Full details about the proposals can be found on the Committee Management Information System.
The county council will publish details about its financial spending controls for the remainder of this financial year, as triggered by the section 114 notice, later this week.