Amber Valley council tax set for big rise to help budget woes

Amber Valley District Council is set to increase its council tax by the maximum amount allowed in order to bridge its multi-million budget deficit.

Thursday, 4th February 2021, 11:50 am

The council also hopes to fill its financial black hole by hiking cremation and burial fees by upwards of a quarter and by increasing parking charges.

The council is on track to accrue a budget deficit of £3.4 million – more than a third of its budget – by the end of this coming financial year.

It will be followed by £3.3 million the year after and £3 million the year after that.

Amber valley Borough Council's finances have been 'stretched to breaking point'

Its budget reduction plan for the coming year only has aims in place to reduce this by less than £600,000.

This will increase to £1.1 million the year after, £1.4 million in 2023 and £2.9 million in 2024.

Over the next four years it aims to use more than £7 million from its reserves to meet its legal requirement to set a balance budget each year.

Its proposed council tax hike this year is to be the maximum of £5 extra a year for a Band D homeowner – a 2.9 per cent increase.

Planned investment in 114 affordable homes in Belper at a cost of £600,000 was pulled in January.

The council is now directing £600,000 in Section 106 funding, contributed from housing developers, to a project to build 214 shared ownership homes in Langley Mill.

The proposed site, near the Bailey Brook, train line and Langley Mill United Cricket Club, was also listed by the council as a Forest for the Future site, containing 2.3 hectares of tree planting.

Meanwhile, the council is set to increase the cost of graves for three people by 23 per cent (£159) to £850.

Graves for one person will increase by 25.5 per cent to £675 and graves for two people will increase by 29 per cent to £850, while the burial of cremated remains will rise 43 per cent to £185.

However, costs for burials of babies and children are to be scrapped.

A planned review of parking charges in the borough could also see the price of parking after 6pm in the borough more than double, from 60p to £1.50, from September.

The council is also to examine the possibility of building solar panels on council-owned land and has already agreed to move to whole council elections – once every four years – from May 2023 to save £220,000 every four years.

It also hopes to identify ways to reduce the cost of its new waste and recycling contract, which stands at £3.6 million per year.

However, it also needs to find a way to finance the £3.7 million replacement of its fleet of waste collection vehicles in the coming years.

The council says its financial woes are linked to the total retraction of £4 million in government grants since 2010.

The council now says a ‘fundamental review of services the council provides’ is now required.

In December, independent auditors Mazars gave the authority a strict deadline of January to draw up a rescue plan to save its crippled budget.

The authority’s own officers have also warned they may have to serve a section 114 notice on the council, freezing any future spending which could see cuts to non-essential services.