Denbighshire County Council has approved its budget for the 2020/2021 financial year, with an increase of 4.3% in council tax for residents.
The draft settlement announced by Welsh Government last December showed an increase of 4.3% in the budget for Denbighshire and this is one of the highest increases seen for the council since 2007/2008. In cash terms this means an increase of £6.2 million.
However, in setting the budget, councillors have considered the fact that there are £12.41 million budget pressures facing the authority, including continued pressure on social services, education, school transport, waste services and pay increases.
The settlement from Welsh Government would have needed to be an increase of 10% to cover these pressures.
In light of the better settlement, the council says it has been able to keep the increase in council tax as low as possible, with this year’s increase of 4.3%. which is lower than last year’s rise of 6.35%.
The budget for the 2020/ 21 financial year is £208 million. This includes a £1.5 million increase for education and children’s services; £2.8 million for schools; £2.6 million for adult social care; £1.4 million for waste; £600,000 for school transport and £200,000 for climate change.
Councillor Julian Thompson-Hill, Cabinet Lead Member for Finance, said: “The council has a legal duty to set a balanced budget for the forthcoming financial year and I must commend councillors and staff who have worked tirelessly to get us to this position today where we can officially set the budget. They have come up with proposals to balance the books and have scrutinised and deliberated over the figures before coming up with the budget agreed at full council.
“A lot of work has gone on behind the scenes to identify more efficient and effective ways of working within the Council and the savings we have identified, together with the better settlement than expected, means that we have been able to keep the council tax levels low.
"The public has told us that they did not want to see large increases and we have listened to their concerns and worked to find alternative ways of finding savings.
“The other good news is that we have been able to protect essential frontline services that people want and expect from the council.
"The cuts we are taking forward this year will have little if any impact on the public and that has been a crucial part of our thinking from the beginning.
"The Council has a strong track record of doing this and we have tried to lead by example by being as efficient and effective as possible, reducing our budgets and making savings through not replacing some posts and identifying better ways of working or stopping some things altogether.
“Moving forward, we will continue to host discussions with Welsh Government to provide a more sustainable footing for local authority finances in the future."