Fife’s joint SNP/Labour administration has passed plans to bridge a £9.1 million budget gap for the coming year by increasing council tax by 3% and making £4.8 million of savings.
The expected hike in council tax was limited to 3%, rather than the maximum level of 4.79% suggested by the Scottish Government, which will bring in an extra £4.7 million to help balance the books.
Councillors have also rejected the more radical suggestions of a workplace car parking levy and a ‘tourist tax’ at the present time, although the savings proposals passed will inevitably have an effect on services moving forward.
Around 35 jobs will be lost as a result of the proposals voted through for 2019, albeit compulsory redundancies should be avoided, but a number of savings agreed in previous budgets will be implemented during the coming year amounting to £9.3 million with the loss of 78 additional posts.
Despite the amount of cash the council has had available to invest in additional services being at a “historical low point”, councillors were told that £1.15 million of investments will be made.
That includes the innovative year-long Holiday Hunger trial which will see £400,000 spent on providing free lunches at 24 schools serving some of Fife’s less affluent communities during the school holidays.
Around £300,000 has been earmarked to address the deterioration of headstones in ceremonies, while cash will also be available for anti-poverty initiatives and to support lone parent charity Fife Gingerbread.
For more, see Friday’s Courier.
What the council tax increase will mean for Fifers (without water charges included):
Property Valuation Band 2018/19 2019/20 (3% inc)
A: Up to £27,000 £790.72 £814.45
B: £27,000 to £35,000 £922.51 £950.19
C: £35,001 to £45,000 £1,054.30 £1,085.93
D: £45,001 to £58,000 £1,186.09 £1,221.67
E: £58,001 to £80,000 £1,558.39 £1,605.14
F: £80,001 to £106,000 £1,927.39 £1,985.21
G: £106,001 to £212,000 £2,322.75 £2,392.43
H: Over £212,000 £2,905.91 £2,993.09