Council begins public consultation

The documents are in draft form and will not be considered by Cabinet or full council until the New Year after the public consultation has taken place.

The consultation asks people to give their views on the draft budget for 2013/14 and on the document known as the Strategic Compass which sets out the council’s medium term priorities. The third and final document people are being asked to consider is the draft Property Asset Management Plan; this explains how the council proposes to manage its property estate during next the financial year.

In preparing the draft budget the council has been mindful of the difficult economic climate and a reduction in government funding. Tunbridge Wells borough already receives one of the lowest levels of government support in the county and new funding arrangements could mean the borough will receive the lowest level of government support in Kent. The council has also set the target of balancing its budget without the use of reserves.

The council has identified savings of £600,000 which it had hoped would be sufficient to achieve a balanced budget, however further proposed cuts in government funding have added to the pressure on the council’s finances. The actual impact of the latest cuts will not be known until later in December.

Included in the draft budget is the proposed 1.9 per cent increase in Council Tax. This would add 1p a day to most Council Tax bills, making the average bill 42p per day, and would mean that Tunbridge Wells still has one of the lowest levels of Council Tax in the country.

The council revises the Strategic Compass on an annual basis alongside the budget setting process. The Compass report presents a list of 24 community projects which the council is proposing to deliver in 2013/14 and the consultation asks people to say if they agree with the suggestions.

The consultation on the three documents opens on Friday 7 December and runs until Friday 18 January 2013.

Anyone wishing to respond to the consultation can do so on-line at: http://consult.tunbridgewells.gov.uk or by email to: accounts@tunbridgewells.gov.uk

Internet access is available at the Tunbridge Wells Gateway, anyone who would like to respond but is unable to do so on-line can contact the council on 01892 526121.