Councillors agree Corporate Plan and Budget for 2021/22
Councillors have approved a Corporate Plan for St Albans City and District Council that will help combat the climate emergency, deliver more social housing, support local businesses and provide enhanced community facilities.
Councillors agreed the Council’s Corporate Plan and budget for 2021/22 at a meeting of Full Council on 24 February. The budget includes a 2.75%* increase in the District’s share** of Council Tax for the coming year for most people, though there will be a 1.16% reduction for residents in Harpenden related to the planned transfer of Rothamsted Park to Harpenden Town Council.
Cllr Chris White, Leader of St Albans City and District Council said: “Coronavirus continues to present great challenges. Not least is the social and economic damage to many local people and businesses, and the huge budget gaps that public service providers like the Council are left with. So, balancing this year’s budget has been particularly complex.”
Alongside the pandemic response, work to address the climate emergency is a top priority. The District’s Sustainability and Climate Crisis Strategy sets out the actions to be taken locally to make the Council’s and the community’s carbon emissions net zero by 2030.
The budget includes plans for £1m of savings that will be made through the implementation of a new operating model for the Council. The organisation structure will be redesigned, and delivery of services reviewed.
A new subscription-based paid garden waste service is to be introduced in July. The new service will cost subscribers up to £45 a year – less for those people on certain benefits.
Cllr White said: “As ever in local government, tough choices about our spending and how we operate have had to be made. Most other councils across the county charge for their garden waste collections, and with the large budget gap we were facing, this was something we had to consider.”
The Council is pressing ahead with the redevelopment of the City Centre Opportunity Site – the area in and around the site of the former police station. It is also developing various plots of council-owned land in St Albans, London Colney and Harpenden to provide new homes for people on the District’s housing register, and further temporary accommodation for homeless people.
The Council is working with St Albans BID (Business Improvement District) and other partners across the District to help businesses affected by the pandemic through the government’s grants programme, and to support them as they come out of the lockdown.
Cllr Chris White said: “We need to ensure that we continue to listen to businesses and local people and work with our partners to address their needs. It is evident that there is a need for new plans, for example in the areas of street markets, City Centre Vision, cultural strategy and destination management.”
New community facilities are also being developed. Cllr White said: “Significant improvements to local leisure and museum facilities have been made over the last few years, including most recently in Harpenden. But community halls and similar facilities elsewhere also need improving. Our work to develop the Marlborough Pavillion in the Sopwell area continues, and we will be redeveloping Fleetville Community Centre as well.”
The Corporate Plan and Budget along with other papers from the Full Council meeting can be viewed at: https://stalbans.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=184&MId=10059
Councillor Chris White, Leader and Portfolio Holder for Climate, Environment and Transport for St Albans City and District Council: email@example.com, 01727 845300.
Claire Wainwright, Policy and Communications Manager, St Albans City and District Council: firstname.lastname@example.org, 01727 819572.
- *The average increase in the District Council’s share of the Council tax (including the reduction in Harpenden) is 1.94%.
- **St Albans City and District Council collects Council Tax on behalf of itself (10% of total Council Tax collected), Harpenden County Council (76%), Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner (11%), and Town and Parish Councils (3%).