March 2, 2023 8.00 am This story is over 13 months old

Council tax rise approved for East Lindsey residents

Internal drainage boards take a huge chunk of budget

Council tax in East Lindsey will be hiked by a further 3.16% following approval of the authority’s budget.

A majority of councillors voted in favour of the rise, which will see residents in band D properties pay an extra £4.95 a year, on their council at the Full Council meeting on Wednesday.

It comes on top of a 4.99% increase by Lincolnshire County Council and a 5.41% rise for Lincolnshire Police’s precept.

It means Band D residents will be paying around £2,030.86 for the 2023/24 year, a 4.94% increase on last year.

The rise will generate an additional £321,000 for the council.

However, leaders warned much of this would be swallowed up by Internal Drainage Board levys, which this year will take £4.9million from the £7.9million set to be received for 2023/24 – around 68%.

Councillors praised the work the IDBs did in protecting the district, however, lamented the increases needed for funding them.

Council officers warned that the embedded levy could “no longer be afforded having a significant impact” and said government had been lobbied to seperate and reduce the levy from the council.

The live stream of the ELDC Full Council | Photo: LDRS

As part of its budget, ELDC will set aside £2.5m of its reserves for the decarbonisation of assets and help with the cost of living support for residents.

The authority said it would balance the budget through one-off reserve use, using New Homes Bonuses to support service efficiencies, as well as further transformation and cost-cutting measures using the South East Lincolnshire Councils Partnership.

Executive member for Finance, Councillor Richard Fry said: “These are very challenging times. This budget I believe represents a positive picture appropriately meets the challenges we face and is importantly balanced.”

Amendments from the Labour group asked for £300,000 to be put aside to install solar panels in council car parks and to begin feasibility studies. The funding would have come from the Carbon Reduction Reserve and the New Initiatives/Contingency Reserve.

Councillor Ros Jackson said the group wanted the council to go further in its bids to decarbonise the district and said it would contribute to carbon neutrality as well as raise future revenue for the council.

She acknowledged the budget was a “difficult one” to do but said the authority could follow the example of others in its use of car parks as well as create further income for the authority.

“This is something that we definitely definitely need to look into. And we need to look into it quickly,” she said.

However, portfolio holder Councillor Steve Kirk said it was already being looked at.

Councillors raised concerns about the aesthetics of the solar panels – though this was described as a low bar by proponents of the proposals.

However, this was voted down by members.