West Sussex County Council has agreed its budget for 2017/18 at a meeting at County Hall, Chichester, today (Friday 17 February).
Measures to close a budget gap of £41.6m were agreed including £16.8m in efficiencies and savings across a number of services, and the use of £9.4m of reserves.
The County Council also agreed a council tax increase of 1.95% plus an additional 2% to fund adult social care, providing a total of 3.95%, the equivalent of an extra 92 pence per week for the average Band D household.
Cabinet Member for Finance, Jeremy Hunt, said: “The demand on our services is increasingly going up, but unfortunately the money we are receiving from central government is going down.
“Increases in council tax are now built into the government’s expectation of how services are funded so as well as our continuing drive for efficiencies, savings, and new ways of working, we had little choice but to increase council tax in order to protect frontline services.
“But we have kept the increase as low as possible for our residents and I believe this budget provides excellent value for money.”
The budget has been drawn up in line with the priorities of ‘keeping you safe’, ‘providing education and schools’ and ‘roads, buses and countryside’, which were highlighted by residents last year in the County Council’s What Matters to You survey.
County Council Leader, Louise Goldsmith, said: “We have listened carefully to our residents both in terms of the services which matter most to them and also in terms of how much council tax they are prepared to pay.
“I’m pleased to say that because of our sound financial management we have not only been able to balance our budget and protect our services but we have also put forward plans for significant investment across West Sussex. Areas include adult social care, highways and transport, education, our fire and rescue service, and numerous schemes which will boost our local economy.”
Further details of the investments from the County Council’s capital programme will be released in the coming weeks.