Council tax rise for Crawley households

Special expenses have risen this year
Special expenses have risen this year

People in Crawley can expect to pay 9p per week extra on the borough’s portion of their council tax bills – a total of £4.95 for the year.

This 2.49 per cent rise will take that part of the bill for a Band D home from £198.99 to £203.49.

Sussex Police have already announced a £24 rise, and West Sussex County Council is expected to up its share by more than £65, adding around £95 to the average bill.

The increase, which would add more than £300,000 to the borough council’s coffers, was given the nod at a meeting of the cabinet and will go to full council for debate and approval at the end of the month.

Also on the agenda will be the General Fund budget for 2019/20.

The fund is used to pay for the majority of council services, except for the maintenance and management of its housing stock, and is made up of money from council tax, rents, government grants, retained business rates, investment income and fees and charges.

The budget for the next year has been set at £14.23m, a rise of £98k and includes £100,000 for the council’s IT team, which leader Peter Lamb (Lab, Northgate) acknowledged had had ‘some issues of late’.

He added that the council intended to make ‘significant progress’ in the future.

The Housing Revenue Account budget has been set at £48.6m, a rise of £1.6m on last year.

Mr Lamb said: “Our budget has followed the budget strategy approved earlier in the year by members, which sought to provide a balanced budget over three years.

“This provides it in one year, despite significant ongoing cuts from central government, with a focus on income generation as a means of making up any gaps we face.”

Michael Jones (Lab, Bewbush) said: “I think it’s an excellent budget and compares very favourably in the increase in our precept compared to other boroughs and districts in West Sussex.

“I believe we’re one of the lowest if not the lowest increase that’s been proposed.”

The budget will be put to the next meeting of the full council, on February 27. The meeting will be held in the town hall at 7.30pm and members of the public are welcome to attend.