At a special meeting of Arun District Council held on 20 February 2019, Councillors voted through the proposed budget for 2019/20, as introduced by Leader of the Council, Cllr Mrs Gillian Brown.
The budget statement holds a strong and positive message detailing a balanced budget which is sound and financially responsible in spite of a challenging financial environment. The Council have made a significant contribution to their Reserves to mitigate against this uncertainty and the concern over about local government funding for the future, everything in this budget is provided at a cost of just under £3.50 a week for a band D property and Arun’s share of the total bill is less than 10%.
The Leader announced that following on from her statement last year saying that no borrowing would be needed to fund the Littlehampton Wave, she was delighted that this remains the case and this forthcoming magnificent facility will be enjoyed by the community with no debt burdening future generations.
In addition to this successful delivery, The Wave has proved to be a sound investment as, principally due to the new centre, we have moved from paying the previous provide approximately £600k to now receiving £600k from the new contractor. Therefore, not only are we debt-free but we are also achieving excellent returns on our investment.
The Council continues to look for efficiencies and are fully embracing the digital agenda. A good example of this is the substantial investment (£500k) we are making in a new Revenues and benefits system. This will bring benefits for Council tax payers and improve services to claimants whilst providing greater efficiencies to the Council.
We will be making substantial investment in our current housing stock so that tenants will see a significant improvement in their standard of housing and the Council is also in a position to increase our housing stock with plans to provide at least an additional 250 homes over the next five year.
The Council have an ambitious Capital programme and as well as the provision of the Littlehampton Wave, are committed to the construction of the Pavilion park in Bognor Regis which is set to transform Hothamton car park into a multi-use park for all age groups as part of the wider regeneration of the town. A further initiative is the substantial contribution the Council is making, in partnership with Littlehampton Town Council to the construction of a new youth facility in Wick.
We can also confirm that council tax has increased by just under 3%. That equates to £5.22 per year for a Band D property. This means that the Council provides all its services for just £3.39 a week (Band D property), a rise of just 10p per week to cover services such as planning, housing, parks, car parks, tourism, leisure, recycling and weekly refuse collection.
Cllr Mrs Brown said “We should be immensely proud of what we have achieved over the past year and this budget for 2019/20. It builds upon previous year’s achievements and continues to provide for a substantial capital programme to support Council Housing, private sector housing, leisure, regeneration, tourism, asset management and other improvements.”