ONLINE VOTE: Is MDC right to consider no increase in Council Tax?

Coun Roger Sutcliife adds the final touches to his Mansfield District Council Budget plans on Monday.
Coun Roger Sutcliife adds the final touches to his Mansfield District Council Budget plans on Monday.

MANSFIELD District Council will make a final decision on Wednesday night on a budget featuring no increase in Council Tax but efficiency measures, schemes and cuts designed to bridge a £3.4m funding gap.

Senior councillors say the proposals will keep the council in the black for 2012 to 2013.

But Independent mayor Tony Egginton and portfolio holder for resources Roger Sutcliffe need them to be rubber-stamped by other members.

Key points of the budget to be debated at a full council meeting on Wednesday include:

A second 12-month freeze in the authority’s portion of Council Tax bills.

More than 60 efficiency and income generation plans to fill a predicted £3.4m cash black hole in the council’s finances.

Introduction of an optional £25 annual fee for residents still wanting the authority to keep emptying their brown garden waste bins.

A £138,000 economic stimulus pot to tackle youth unemployment with apprenticeship schemes.

Changes to charges including dropping the £1.50 minimum two-hour stays at nine town car parks to bring back cheaper one-hour stays.

Some shoppers and business owners welcomed the car park changes last week after Chad reported many had opposed the £1.50 minimums.

The proposals also mean Warsop’s Meden Sports Centre, threatened with closure last year, would stay open for at least another 12 months.

Coun Sutcliffe said setting the authority’s budget is becoming an ‘increasingly challenging task’.

Last year the council estimated it would need to find £719,000 to fill the budget gap in 2012 to 2013, but this has now soared to £3.4m.

Reduced income from car parking, property rents and building regulations have been blamed.

The authority also says bank interest rates staying lower for longer than expected have hit its investments.