Council tax set to rise in Mansfield alongside increase in town railway station parking fees

Car parking fees at Mansfield railway station could be increased and council tax raised by almost 2 per cent as Mansfield Council looks to plug a £1.3 million hole in its budget.

Tuesday, 7th December 2021, 7:50 am

The council’s cabinet will receive recommendations from a scrutiny committee next week, after revealing plans to meet the shortfall in the coming financial year.

The authority had already proposed increasing council tax by the maximum amount, using £300,000 of reserves and increasing some fees and charges to recoup an additional £104,000.

This came alongside a 50 per cent reduction in councillors’ ward allowances, to raise £18,000, and continuing the 10 per cent reduction in special responsibility allowances to provide £20,000.

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Mansfield Railway Station.

However, the overview and scrutiny committee has urged the authority to go further.

Documents published ahead of the cabinet meeting state the committee supports the 1.99 per cent council tax rise, which would ‘bring a sustainable income’.

But the committee said it was aware of the ‘cumulative impact on residents’ from a council tax rise, together with potential precept increases from other Nottinghamshire authorities and a rise in the general cost of living.

Members of the committee, documents state, felt there was ‘scope to deliver further savings’.

Coun Craig Whitby, Mansfield Council portfolio holder for corporate and finance.

This, they said, could remove the need to increase council tax, or to use the earmarked reserves.

However, in further recommendations, the committee suggests increasing the cost of parking at Mansfield’s railway station to generate about £1,500 annually.

Under the proposals, a 24-hour ticket would rise from £3.60 to £4, while a five-day ticket would increase from £15 to £20.

The committee also suggested introducing a trade glass-collection service, to increase income by £5,000, and supported plans for a 2 per cent rise in charges.

It also supported the continued 10 per cent cut in special responsibility allowances – extra expenses for key councillor roles – for a further year.

But the committee did not agree with the 50 per cent cut in councillors’ ward allowances, agreeing the scheme has a ‘significant impact on community groups’ supported by the funding.

Plans to reduce the charge for garden waste collection from £31 to £26 were also rejected by the committee.

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Strategy

The recommendations will be discussed by the cabinet on Monday ahead of the authority putting together its financial strategy. They will also feed into the authority’s budget-setting process in spring.

Coun Craig Whitby, portfolio holder for corporate and finance, said last month: “It is not easy to put forward a proposal to increase council tax when we know the financial impact coronavirus has had on so many people in our district. The rise would bring in an extra £115,000 to help maintain vital services.”

Documents in November stated the pandemic has created financial pressures in ‘almost all areas of the council’.

It comes, the documents said, as a result of increased expenditure, loss of income from fees and charges, and ‘lower-than-expected collection’ of council tax and business rates.

If the 1.99 per cent council tax rise goes ahead, residents in band A properties – which make up more than half of Mansfield’s homes – will pay an additional £2.58 per year to the council.

Nottinghamshire Council, which collects the bulk of council tax receipts, as well as the county fire authority and police commissioner, are yet to decide on their 2022/23 precepts.

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