POWYS residents will be facing a 7.5 per cent Council Tax rise from April.
Next Tuesday, January 16, Powys County Council’s Liberal Democrat/Labour Cabinet is expected to endorse a draft budget which includes the Council Tax hike.
The report stresses that the decision to set the budget for 2024/2025 will be made at full council meetings towards the end of February and the minority Liberal Democrat/Labour and Green administration will need to cross their finger that they will have the enough votes to get it across the line.
Documents in the report explain that the Council Tax rise will equate to an increase of £114.33 a year which can be broken down to £9.53 a month and £2.20 a week to a Band D dwelling.
Town and Community Council as well as Dyfed Powys Police will then be added to the total making the overall bill one of the highest in Wales.
Next year’s council budget is set to go up to £340.7 million and follows a provisional 2.8 per cent rise in funding from the Welsh Government’s which was announced just before last Christmas.
But this increase which equates to £6.275 million more in funding, is lower than the average 3.1 per cent rise for Welsh local authorities.
Budget documents explain that there is expected to be an £18.458 million budget gap that needs to be plugged.
The report explains that £10.652 million of this will be addressed by the council in a mixture of cuts, savings and income generation with the Council Tax increase supposed to cover the remaining £7.805 million.
Finance portfolio holder Labour’s Cllr David Thomas said: “The council is facing severe financial pressures for 2024-25 and for the foreseeable future, pressures that will dominate the way we deliver services for many years to come.
“We must adapt if we are to survive.”
Head of Finance and section 151 officer Jane Thomas said: “The significant impact of continued inflation, rising costs and additional service pressures have all added substantial financial pressure to the council’s budget.
“The funding settlement the council has received this year is considerably lower than that received in recent years, the cumulative effect of increasing costs and limited additional funding creates an even greater challenge in maintaining financial stability. ”
“It is widely acknowledged that the council in its current form is not sustainable.
“The programme of change to deliver Sustainable Powys is critical to ensure that the council can remain financially stable and provide sustainable services in the long-term.”
Taking all of this into “account” Ms Thomas concludes the estimates used in the budget proposal for 2024-25 are adequately robust but a “heightened level of risk remains.”
The draft budget will be probed by all of the council’s scrutiny committees during the next month before it is expected to be debated at a council meeting on February 22.