Thanet council is looking how to balance the books next year with proposals including increases in off-street parking fees,cemetery and crematorium charges, council tax and more asset sales.
The measures are planned as the authority faces yet another cut in its annual central government grant.
Cabinet members will discuss an outline draft for the 2018/19 budget at a meeting next Thursday (November 15).
A report to members warns the Revenue Support Grant (RSG) from central government is expected to fall to £809,000 for 2018-19 compared to £1.446m for 2017-18.
The grant has been slashed repeatedly in the last few years.
For 2013/14 the grant was £6.636m. in 2014/15 it fell to £5.131m and for 2015-16 this was reduced to £3.630m.
In 2016-17 the grant was £2.645m but this is expected to go down to just £98,000 in 2019-20 and it is predicted there will be no central government grant from 2020-21.
The loss of funding means local authorities have to look at other ways of raising funds through fees and charges, asset sales and even schemes like the soon to be launched Thanet lottery.
The draft outline document to Cabinet members also raises areas where finances will be needed in the coming financial years.
A £50,000 welfare reform contingency budget is planned to deal with the impact of the roll out of Universal Credits and the bad debt this may create.
Some £8million is needed for works and major repairs to the council’s properties and the isle’s 6 high rise blocks of flats will need some £900,000 of investment after detailed fire safety reports were carried out and a number of enhanced fire safety works identified. Other blocks will also need additional fire safety works to comply with recommendations.
Revised risk assessments carried out following the Grenfell Tower tragedy identified additional fire safety works that need to be carried out. Some works began this year but a further £810,000 is required to complete the recommendations during 2018-19. From 2019-20, £100,000 will be required to continue with non-urgent fire safety recommendations.
Brunswick Court, Trove Court and Kennedy House lifts are in need of urgent refurbishment or replacement. Brunswick Court lifts are due to be replaced during 2017-18, along with one or both of the lifts at Trove Court and Kennedy House. Lifts are still due to be replaced at Staner Court, Harbour Towers, Janice Court and Turner Court. Thanet council aims to earmark £260,000 from 2019-20 to 2022-23 to be able to carry out the remaining replacements.
Cabinet members will discuss proposals on the level of fees and charges in December with a view to implementing changes from April. Areas looked at will include off street parking, cemetery and crematorium fees, harbour and port costs and green waste collection.
A report to members says there will need to be ‘efficiencies’ including the restructuring and outsourcing non-core services; raising fees and charges where applicable; introducing new fees for existing services and new income-generating services; working with organisations such as the CCG and East Kent councils to review accommodation needs whilst !protecting critical services and corporate priorities wherever possible.”
A 2% rise in Thanet council’s share of the council tax is also proposed. This will be discussed by Cabinet on January 16 for agreement, with full council expected to agree the rise on February 22.
Central government will confirm the grant amount for local authorities in late January/early February. Final budget proposals will go to full council for approval on February 8.