Council Sets a Budget to Increase Investment in the City
Ripon City Council met on 11th January 2016 to agree its budget for 2016/17, which will see a significant increase in the money available for grants and for working with other organisations to help deliver improvements in the City.
Following Councillors’ concerns about the increasing demand from organisations seeking financial support for projects and worthy causes and the need to invest in improving the City, the Council’s budget from April 2016 will include:
- £12,000 available for a small grant scheme,
- £15,000 available for working with partnership organisations to deliver services in the City,
- £15,000 as a strategic investment fund
Now the budget has been agreed, the Council will begin working up the details of the schemes and will make further announcements regarding the application process in the coming weeks.
Together with other increases to the Council’s existing running costs, the increase in budget will be £57,268 which will be funded by an increase of less than 22p per week in the precept on a Band D property. Councillors also considered data obtained during the preparation of the draft budget, which showed that over 68% of households in Ripon were in Bands A to C and would pay proportionately less than this amount.
Councillors voted by 9 votes to 2, with 2 abstentions, to accept the proposed budget which had been developed by a working group of the Finance and General Purposes Committee. The cross-party working group had looked in detail at all aspects of the budget and how the Council’s aspirations for the future could be met in order to present a proposition to be considered.
As part of the discussions, the Council debated whether to take money from reserves in order to reduce the increase in the precept but agreed to stick with best practice advice recommendations that suggest general reserves should be kept equating to 12 months of gross expenditure.
Cllr Pauline McHardy, Mayor of Ripon, said, “This has been a very difficult decision and I know that all Councillors feel uncomfortable about this increase when residents face other rising costs. However, one of the roles of the Council is to work with other organisations that are trying to do good things for this City and we simply have not been able to financially support them over the last few years. With this in mind this budget sees a small increase in the precept each month, but makes a significant difference to the amount of money that we, as the City Council, can invest in Ripon to make it a better place for our residents.”
During the debate, Councillors recognised that all of the other precepting authorities would be increasing their budgets too, but many felt that at a time when more is being expected to be delivered at a local level, the Council needs to increase its precept.
Cllr Peter Pearson, Chair of the Finance and General Purposes Committee, said, “We have all volunteered to serve as Councillors because we want to see the City improve and make it better for our residents. Sometimes this means making very difficult decisions but we need to ensure that we can invest in the future of our City. This budget will enable us to use our money to attract resources from grants and other organisations to deliver projects and services that will meet our, and our residents’, aspirations.”
Following last night’s decision, Ripon City Council will formally notify Harrogate Borough Council of its precept request for £230,854 which will be included on the Council Tax bills issued in March.
The Council’s approved budget can be viewed here: RCC 16-17 Approved budget – public
Please find following links to the Council’s Annual Returns