It is that time of year again, we have just got over Christmas and the new year, and now we are in budget time, having to fix the Council Tax. As I am sure you already know, all Local Authorities collect the resources (Formula Grant), they need to run the services they provide, mainly in two ways. One we get formula grant from the Government, who collects that from VAT, Income tax, business rates, etc, and the second from the Council Tax we all have to pay. Depending on how much the formula grant they give us, according to their complicated system, will then depend how much we have to collect from Council Tax Payers. Devon County's formula grant for 09/10 was £152.999million, an increase of 5.5% over the 08/09 grant. This was a welcomed increase, but we are told that the budget will still be under pressure. The provisional Dedicated Schools Grant had also increased for 09/10 by a lesser amount of 3.0% to £359.3 million, which was less than last year.
We still moan, but we have a right to, because the average grant per head of population is £674, if we were to get just the average of the Country, Devon would receive an extra £31 million each year, or £41 per person, that would be very welcomed and go a long way to give better facilities. Mid Devon, on the other hand has not fared that well, their formula grant has only been increased by 2%. My prediction is Deck's tax increase will 3% and MDDC will be 2.5%, we will be trying to improve on that.
Unfortunately, Mid Devon supply most of all the front line services that the general public come into contact with, like housing, planning, waste collection, litter, street cleaning, dog fouling and so on, MDDC`s budget pressures will be greater than Devon County. Nevertheless, MDDC are not doing too badly, particularly waste collections and recycling, but the credit crunch is affecting car
park income by about 5%, and planning application fees.
As the Portfolio holder for Customer services, can I emphasis the need to keep recycling. Government have set targets and if we do not meet these targets, within a few years, as an Authority, we could be charged as much as £150 a for every ton that we put into landfill over and above our targets, which are being increased year on year.
Anything that is collected by MDCR does NOT go into landfill, but is sold to reduce council tax, despite the fall in commodity prices. MDCR have a long term fixed contracts with purchasers of waste, which insulates us from these give away prices. We also want Devon to be the greenest County in England.
Will we be Unitary, DCC and all the Districts as one big Authority?, well, we will not know until the end of March. In the meantime, I am always available if you need any help.
All the best