The cost of having garden waste collected for households in Stafford Borough has been frozen.
And councillors have agreed that there would be no rise in car parking charges next year either - in a bid to encourage more shoppers and visitors to the town centres to help local businesses.
Around 36,000 homes across the borough signed up to have their garden waste removed by the council’s recycling and waste contractors in 2022 - with the brown bin charge staying at £36 for 2023. And households can now sign up for their 2023 permit at Brown Bin | Stafford Borough Council (staffordbc.gov.uk)
Councillor Mark Winnington, Cabinet Member for Environment, said it was important they could freeze the charge for thousands of households in the borough who were facing increases in the cost of living.
Councillors considered changes in fees and charges for some of the services it delivers at a meeting of the cabinet. As well as the brown bin garden waste fee, they agreed to freeze other charges including car parking - to encourage more visits to the town centres to support local businesses, rent on stalls for traders at the indoor market, and licences for taxi drivers - with the local authority wanting to help small businesses still recovering from the pandemic.
The cabinet report said there is a predicted gap in the local authority’s budget for the new financial year of £2 million.
It continued: “Fees and charges are an important source of income to the council. As costs rise with inflation, if income from fees and charges does not rise proportionately, this will add to the 2023-24 budget gap - the difference between projected expenditure and income. The council currently projects a budget gap of £2 million for 2023-24.”
And, despite the report saying that inflation was more than 12 per cent, most of the other charges will only go up by around 5 per cent - although it warns that hiring sports facilities will need to increase to cover the significant rise in energy costs.
Leader of the Council, Patrick Farrington, said: “We know what a difficult time this is for our residents and businesses. The cost-of-living crisis is hurting everyone in the community, and we are determined to keep fees and charges low wherever we can.
“Local authorities are also facing significant financial pressures. We have an exemplary record of managing our finances but the increases in the costs to our council along with reductions in funding, mean we are looking at a potential budget gap of around £2m. This will require us to make savings without losing the vital services we deliver to the public.”
The full cabinet report of Thursday 3 November can be found at 22/23 Committee Meetings | Stafford Borough Council (staffordbc.gov.uk)
More details on the garden waste service at www.staffordbc.gov.uk/brownbin
For car parking information, including prices and how to purchase season tickets, go to Car Parking in Stafford and Stone | Stafford Borough Council (staffordbc.gov.uk)
Press Release No 5964