Boston Borough Council has approved an almost £5 council tax hike for 2021/22, but are looking at a deficit of £700,000 in future years.
There will be £98,000 surplus for next year due to coronavirus postponing the fair funding review. Band D properties in Boston will go from £192.96 to £197.91, a 2.57% rise.
This amounts to a 9p per week increase for band D properties and a 6p per week rise for Band A properties, bringing a return to the council of around £100,000 a year.
Section 151 Officer Adrian Sibley said: “We are looking at a £98,000 surplus for next year, which means that we’re collecting more income, and we’ll have more fees and charges and government grants than what we’ll be spending.
“It’s largely because the coronavirus has pushed the fair funding review down the road another year.”
“The fair funding review is where the government looks at how it allocates funds to each council, and it looks like there will be a shift from districts and borough councils to county councils and unitaries in the future years because that’s where the demands and pressures are on public finances at the moment, particularly in terms of Adult Social Care and Children’s Services.”
He added: “It looks like that will turn into a deficit of around about £700,000, so we’ll have to find that money in future years.”
“It could have been a lot worse than this and some councils up and down the country are in an extremely perilous financial position, and this council isn’t in that position, it’s in a fairly healthy position.”
Proposals were made for a 0% increase on council tax for the borough.
Cllr Anne Dorrian said: “I think the residents of Boston need a break. And I think that it’s in our gift to give them a break. And that break should be no council tax increase at all this year.”
She added: “We have many residents who are very low waged. And I feel very strongly that when we’ve got the opportunity to support them, that’s what they elected us to do. It’s not a PR exercise, please don’t think that. It’s a genuine plea from me for the more vulnerable people in our society.”
“I think this would give people a real genuine mental health boost.”
Cllr Thomas Ashton said: “I believe it would be greatly irresponsible of us to make that £700,000 deficit next year an £800,000 deficit.”
Proposals for a 0% increase for 2021/22 fell with seven out of 10 voting to approve the council tax increase.
The authorities have joined several others in reaching for higher tax rises, with South Holland also going for £4.95 (2.75%), South Kesteven going for a round £5 (3.06%) and Lincoln increasing by £5.31 (1.9%).
Lincolnshire County Council accepted a 1.99% rise, but declined to take an extra 3% for its adult social care precept. However, North East Lincolnshire has so far had no issues with taking the full 4.98% rise.
The Police and Crime Commissioner is seeking to hike his share of tax by 5.9% (20-26p extra per week).
The Boston budget proposals will go to consultation and full council before April.