Details of Eastleigh Borough Council’s budget for 2010 have been revealed by the leader of the Council , Keith House. In a largely ‘good news’ pre-election budget speech the Lib Dem Leader revealed he planned to make 50% efficiency savings without any cuts to services or staff redundancies and that Council Tax increases would continue to be pegged below the rate of inflation.
Here are the main points of the speech.
- Cllr House pointed out that Council Tax increases had been pegged below inflation for the last seven years claiming this was a feat unrivalled by other local councils.
- Criticising other councils for freezing Council Tax increases as an election strategy, he then went on to announce that Council Tax rises in Eastleigh would continue to be frozen at 1% below the retail price index for a further three years.
- He pointed out in the absence of guidance from the government on funding, the council would be anticipating a cut in government support as a result of spending cuts.
- He reported that the recession had impacted on revenue. There had been a fall in income from planning fees and the council accepted they would not achieve full occupancy of Wessex House, the council owned office block on Upper market Street.
- He declared there would be a reduction in travelling allowances and that in order to further transparency in local government , details of council members interests would be published on the Borough ‘s ‘new look’ website.
- Announcing that the council had achieved ‘carbon neutrality’ ahead of schedule he also revealed it was close to achieving its 50% recycling target.
- As part of the community investment programme Cllr House outlined the benefits of the new Wildern Community Theatre being built at a cost of £4 million and of the £700,000 refurbishment of the Leigh Ballroom as a youth centre. He added that the new Theatre would lead to the creation of the post of ‘Arts Development Officer’
- Cllr House hailed the creation of new Parish Councils in Chandlers Ford and Allbrook as a boon to local democracy which would result in lower Council Tax bills for the residents and that the first elections would be held on May 6th.
- Summing up he said he was not despondent about the effects of the recession. He reiterated that the Council tax increases over the last seven years were equivalent to an 11% overall rise which he claimed was one of the lowest in the country saying that the average Eastleigh resident would actually see a small reduction in the amount they have to pay.
There was no mention of the council’s liabilities or the cost of borrowing requirements, in respect of the £32 million loan for completion of the Rose Bowl project.
You can also see a video presentation of Cllr House shot at the Point some days ago here. (As he walks toward camera, he suddenly stops over what appears to be a trapdoor.)