Good news for Hedge End council tax payers who will see the Town Council part of their bill frozen for the second year running. In January councillors agreed a budget for 2013/14 which reduces overall expenditure in line with expected lower income from other sources, such as bank interest.
The budget includes a small grant from Eastleigh Borough Council to compensate for changes to the way individual bills are calculated. Without this grant, Hedge Enders could have ended up paying more, even though the amount paid to the Town Council stayed the same.
Some savings have been made in ongoing costs, for instance by reducing the frequency of cleaning the public toilets. But the main saving is in cutting the budget for capital projects. There will be no new play equipment in our parks or major upgrades to our community halls. Instead the council will concentrate on maintaining the facilities that we have and paying off the mortgage on the new groundstaff depot off Woodhouse Lane.
The zero increase budget has been possible even as the Town Council takes on increased responsibility for local youth services. After Conservatives at the county council threw in the towel in the face of coalition cuts to local government, the Town Council took a leading role in making sure The Box in Wildern Lane stayed open for our young people.
See also: Hedge End Freezes Council Tax
and: Thinking outside the Box