A maximum council tax hike of almost five per cent, job losses and spending cuts look set to be approved by Cheshire West and Chester Council this week.
A meeting of full council takes place on Thursday where members will be asked to sign off the authority’s revenue budget of £411m for the coming financial year.
Borough finance chiefs have already branded it the toughest budget they have had to put together since the council’s creation in 2009.
Included are cuts of £29.8m next year, with further savings required over the following two years. There would also be 124 job cuts – with 46 in the coming year – and a reorganisation of senior level posts.
A council tax increase of 4.99 per cent – made up of a 2.99 per cent increase in basic council tax and an adult social care precept of two per cent – would see a Band D bill rise by £89.55-a-year to £1,884.07.
There would also be a review of services including museums, libraries, and shopmobility service.
The report said the government has only provided a one-year funding settlement for 2024-25, so there remained ‘continued uncertainty’ in respect of funding allocations for future years.
A report to the council said, “This budget has been developed in the most challenging financial climate since this council’s inception. Despite the significant challenges, it delivers a substantial package of investment that protects vital services for residents and businesses across Cheshire West and Chester.”
The LDRS understands the opposition Conservative group is putting together an alternative budget for discussion on the night.
The report added, “This report sets out the various and numerous elements of the council’s budget.
“Members could come to a different view on any component area of the budget and hence could agree an alternative set of budget proposals as long as it achieves a balanced budget for 2024-25, does not expose the council to excessive financial risk in future years, and meets statutory obligations.”
It said that if members took such an approach the alternate budget would have to be set before March 11.
The meeting takes place at Wyvern House, Winsford, on Thursday at 5pm. It can be viewed live on the council’s website here: https://cmttpublic.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=448&MId=7029