Lincolnshire councillors have unanimously rejected a 5% hike in council tax for 2021/22, but have agreed on a 1.99% increase instead to plug budget holes.
The proposed council tax increase would be equivalent to an extra 34p per week for households in council tax band A and 51p for those in tax band D.
The extra 3% would have gone towards adult social care in Lincolnshire, but this is a local decision made by councils based on demand in specific areas, according to government.
In Tuesday’s Executive Meeting, Michelle Grady, Assistant Director Strategic Finance at Lincolnshire County Council said: “We are not proposing to put that adult social care precept into our 2021/22 proposals […] government did say this could be deferred, but obviously that is a discussion for future years.”
Cllr Martin Hill, Leader of Lincolnshire County Council said that it is “not the right time to take the 5% increase that we would be entitled to”.
He added the council will “decline the extra 3% which we think will help support not only individual households, but also business as well. I think that is the right and proper thing to do.”
Cllr Hill previously said: “The majority of properties in Lincolnshire are in council tax band A so our proposed council tax increase would be the equivalent of an extra 34p per week for these households.”
With the extra funds from council tax, business rates and government grants, the council is proposing to invest £200 million in infrastructure and building projects, such as improvements to local schools and new roads.
This is in addition to the proposed budget of just over £500 million for the services residents rely on, including more than £200 million for adult care, over £75 million for children’s social care, almost £23 million for highways, and around £20 million for the fire service and emergency planning.
The budget also sets out spending for other services such as libraries, heritage sites, economic development and school transport.
Cllr Hill, said: “Our budget needs to strike a careful balance, understanding that our residents and businesses have had a tough time over the last year, but that this has meant an increased demand for council support and services, and a need to invest in projects that will aid our county’s recovery.
“The additional funding from the government of over £5 million for adult social care and £15 million to help with our cost pressures from the COVID response, is incredibly welcome and will help over the next year.
“We’ve worked hard as a council to find savings wherever we can, so we can make the most of every pound. As well as projects to support the local economy, we have continued to invest in services for vulnerable adults, children’s social care, and an extensive programme of expansion and improvements to special schools.”
There will be a public consultation on the proposals before the final budget is set by the council in February.