A freeze on council tax and funding for the popular bonfire night party and small grants fund were agreed by Corby Council on Thursday (February 27).
The budget for 2014/15 was set at the full meeting of the council and when it was also agreed to introduce the Living Wage for council employees, make around £900,000 of savings and to put £850,000 into the authority’s reserves.
Leader of Corby Council, Cllr Tom Beattie, said: “The 2014/15 budget is extremely positive for the council in the current climate. While central government funding cuts and the impact of the recession continue to place significant strain on our finances, the budget for 2014/15 has protected front line serves and allowed contribution to reserves of some £850,000 and this has all been achieved without increasing council tax for the fourth year running.
“Decisions made as part of the 2014/15 budget also mean that we potentially have a relatively stable financial outlook over the next three or four years. This is the first time in several years that we have been able to say this and this is down to the continued hard work of officers and members in finding innovative solutions to the pressures that we face.”
Cllr Beattie warned that there will continue to be uncertainties ahead and, as a result, the authority’s reserves are being increased, a move welcomed by the council’s improvement board.
He said: “The budget process has highlighted several potential savings options, some of which are easy to support and implement and some of which are not. However, we have always maintained during this process that the options presented to the public should include everything possible and not just the ones that we would prefer.
“We have then listened to the public’s views on these proposals and accepted their views on issues such as the protection of the Bonfire Night funding. In addition we recognise the challenges that the voluntary sector faces in dealing with our proposals and their own funding cuts so we have maintained the small grants budget to try to alleviate any particularly difficult positions that these key and crucial organisations may find themselves in. We are also proud that Corby Council is implementing the Living Wage for its employees.
“We are pleased that residents of Corby can rest assured that their Corby Council tax bill will not increase next year, that services will be maintained and that they will benefit from the magnificent growth and regeneration that they have seen in recent years and will continue to see in the future.
“Whilst we recognise and accept the challenges that the council faces over the next few years, overall our budget for 2014/15 is another budget for service provision, investment, growth and opportunity.”