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Budget set to go before full council following Cabinet approval
A BOROUGH budget that will direct millions of pounds towards key improvement projects, but will cut funding to outside organisations and increase service charges, will go before the full council this week.
The Conservative administration is proposing to freeze its portion of the council tax at £104.44 for a Band D property.
This will amount to eight per cent of a household's overall council tax bill. The remainder is paid to Hampshire County Council, Hampshire Constabulary, Hampshire Fire and Rescue, and parish councils.
The budget proposes that funding for 52 borough-based organisations will fall by an average of 12 per cent, with some being harder hit than others.
The Citizens Advice Bureau will see funding fall by five per cent to £154,280 while Victim Support is set to suffer a 20 per cent cut to £13,320.
The proposed budget has added £10.6m to the Conservative administration's spending on major projects.
Over four years, the council will spend £31.6m on projects such as revamping the Top of The Town, improving residential parking, overhauling the Black Dam Roundabout, and on a pilot project to install solar panels on three council-owned buildings.
Cash to fund these projects will be taken from £134.9million currently tucked away in council reserves, and in 2013-14, £9.57m will be spent.
The budget has already been approved by the 10-strong Cabinet, but now needs to be approved by a majority of the full council on Thursday.
Deputy leader Councillor Ranil Jayawardena said: “What the budget does is demonstrate our commitment to investing for the future, both in terms of capital projects and providing services for people in real need.
“Freezing the council tax for four years, and the coming year of 2014-15, means that you have to ensure that you are balancing the books in a different way.”
Under the budget plans, the borough's portion of council tax will have been unchanged since 2010-11. The budget also outlines plans to freeze the borough's portion in the 2014-15 financial year.
If approved, this would make it five consecutive years without a rise in borough's council tax requirement.
Currently, the borough's portion of the council tax has been frozen for three years - not five as was incorrectly stated on a story that appeared on our website on January 28. We apologise for that error.
From April 2013 to April 2014, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council will spend £133.6m running day-to-day council services. The borough's forecast income is £127.3m - the difference in income and expenditure will be met by council tax.
In 2013-14, the majority of the borough's income - 65 per cent - will come from Government grants. The council will also earn £5.45m from fees and charges for council-run services such as car parks.
Rents from the borough's £226.8m commercial property portfolio will add a further £15.6m to borough coffers, bolstered by an anticipated £3.4m from an average 2.3 per cent return on £150m of City investments. The council will balance its books with £6.3m raised through council tax.
If approved, the budget will come into force from April 1.