Increased spend on street and graffiti cleaning, parks, dredging and sport planned in Thanet council’s 2024-25 budget

Finances

Increased investment in areas including such street cleansing, graffiti cleaning and parks and open spaces, will be considered by Thanet council Cabinet on Thursday 11 January.

The measures are part of the council’s proposed budget for April 2024 to March 2025, which sets out how the public services the council provides, as well as spending on new proposals, will be financed.

Proposals to increase net spending in council services by £2.2m were initially considered by the Cabinet in October 2023. This investment was proposed to address inflationary pressures as a result of rising costs in fuel, transport and staffing and to target more resources to the services which matter most to residents.

Thanet council’s revenue expenditure budget for the coming year is £23.457million, a £2.045m increase compared to the 2023/24 budget.

The increase has been financed from areas including additional retained business rates income (£1.411m); increases in fees and charges (£0.234m); one-off net reserve contributions (£0.526m) and council tax income (£0.705m).

Service spend

The revised budget now sets out plans for an extra £180,000 to tackle weed clearance and graffiti and includes a one-off allocation of £50,000 to support working with the community to maximise participation in active sports and to improve the pitches at Jackey Bakers and elsewhere.

Plans include employing three full time equivalent Open Spaces staff over a two year period, also creating capacity for additional graffiti cleaning within the Minor Works team.

A £35k investment will be made for an additional vehicle for the service and there is a proposal to employ two further graffiti cleaning operatives in 2024/25.

An additional £100k will be used to fund Hot Foam weed control after concerns were raised about the use of  Glyphosate. The hot foam equipment can also be used to clean graffiti and chewing gum from walls and pavements.

A £30,000 budget is proposed for playground maintenance.

A £168,000 spend is proposed to create six new street cleansing operative posts, meaning an increase in permanent staffing in this area of 26%.

Resident Engagement £11k –  Allocation to continue using the new online engagement platform ‘Your Voice Thanet’

Member Casework Delivery Officer £33k – One additional full time equivalent post for improved coordination of councillor casework and responding to ward queries.

Pay awards – A 5.75% pay award costing approximately £1.075m.

Port and Harbour Dredging £180k – The dredging budget has been reduced over several years to the point where the port and harbour cannot complete adequate dredging operations to maintain safe access to the port and harbour.

Port and Harbour Maintenance £50k – Maintenance contract with approved lock gate operator for 6 monthly/ annual inspections and maintenance on lock gates and bascule bridge.

Sports Development £50k – Kent Football Association could increase work with communities and their access to sport and facilities. It includes potential support for pitch improvements at Jackey Bakers for the 2024/25 football season.

Council Tax

The level of Council Tax and fees and charges for the year ahead will also be considered as part of the council’s annual process to deliver a balanced budget.

The proposal is for Council Tax to increase by 3%, which would result in a £7.64 increase per year for households in Council Tax band D.

Thanet council receives 12p in every £1 collected in the Council Tax paid by Thanet residents. For an average Band D property making ten monthly payments of £207, Thanet council receives around £25 per payment month. The rest goes to a number of organisations: Kent County Council (70.6%), Kent Police and Crime Commissioner (11.2%), Kent & Medway Fire and Rescue Authority (4%) and Town / Parish councils (2.4% on average).

Fees and Charges

Fees and charges were originally proposed to rise by an average of 8%, based on anticipated inflation rates when the draft budget was published. However, it is now proposed to limit increases in key areas such as parking, green waste collection and the crematorium to 5% or less. The exact figures are being finalised.

Maritime – Inflation based increases in charges for this service area should generate a further £164k.

Parking – A reduced increase of approximately 5% is proposed and council revenues are expected to increase by approximately £150k.

Garden Waste – A 5% increase, council income increase by a further £15k

Crematorium – Increases of between 0 and 5%.

Waste Bin replacement – Proposed increase in charge for replacement bins is 5%. A review is due to be held.

Planning – £260k of additional income expected to be retained following increase in nationally set planning fees

Capital projects

The Margate Town Deal, Ramsgate and Margate Levelling Up schemes and Ramsgate High Street Fund (total funds of £51m)

Housing Assistance Policy (including Disabled Facilities Grants) £3m per annum grant funded.

Vehicle & Equipment Replacement Programme – £10.960m over four years, including budget provision for electrification of refuse collection vehicles.

Property Enhancement Programme – £1.250m over 4 year programme to allow for capital enhancement to corporate property estate.

End User Computing Refresh of Devices & IT Infrastructure – £0.740m over four years

Ramsgate Port – Berth 1 Refurbishment – £300k

Royal Harbour Multi-Storey Car Park – £3m in 2025/26 for the purchase of this site (which the council currently leases),

Homelessness Accommodation (phase 2) – The total size of this capital project is £2.2m, of which £1.2m is profiled for 2024/25 (funded from borrowing).

Additional staffing

2 FTE planning posts at a cost of £124k, funded from planning income

1FTE new Private Sector Housing Projects Officer £50kpa

1 FTE new Public Health Agenda Officer within Regulatory Services, initially for a 3 year fixed term contract (£117k total)

2 posts (1 FTE) procurement £80k

Consultation

During a seven week public consultation, people were invited to give feedback on the proposed budget as part of the annual residents’ survey. Views were also sought on what residents consider most important and most in need of improvement in Thanet, and on their general satisfaction with key council services.

A total of 558 people responded to the consultation, either as part of the targeted sample survey issued to 6,000 Thanet households, or through the open survey made available on the council’s online engagement platform, Your Voice Thanet.

Clean streets, thriving towns and feeling safe remain amongst the top priorities for local people.

Cllr Rob Yates

Cabinet Member for Finance, Cllr Rob Yates, said: “I’d like to start by thanking everyone who responded to our consultation. Being clear on the things that matter most to local people means we can propose a budget that targets our finances to those areas.

“It’s been an ongoing message that balancing the budget is a difficult exercise made all the more difficult due to diminishing government funding. I’m proud that thanks to the hard work of councillors and officers, our budget next year does not require us to cut important local services, but goes further and proposes additional investment in staffing and priority areas too.”

The council’s budget is agreed in January each year, with final decisions taken by the full council in early February. The approved budget is then implemented in April at the start of the new financial year.

Since 2010, the council has seen a 60% reduction in funding from central government. In real terms this represents around £8million in cuts.

 

45 Comments

  1. WHAT… 5.75% pay award costing approximately £1.075m. I would like to see improvements before £1.075m gets sponged away. Like major improvements.Queue the usual Trolls!!

    • If the 5.75% figure giving a cost of 1.075m is correct it would suggest that around 18.7 million of the councils projected spend is on wages which i’d assume includes pension contributions etc, which means all the other costs to tdc come out of around 5 million which doesn’t seem particularly plausible, can anyone see where i’ve got the maths wrong or explain what I’ve misunderstood?

  2. The whole of the Isle of Thanet is an eyesore with graffiti and rubbish everywhere. So far as this is concerned I don’t think anything needs to be discussed!! JFDI 😡

        • You’re exaggerating.
          I regularly go for long walks throughout the length and breadth of our fair Isle. We are blessed with stunning scenery.

          • Stunning scenery I agree, but also disgusting, ghetto like graffiti everywhere. You can talk an area up but the reality is that the whole of Thanet is covered in unsightly graffiti that makes it look like a ghetto. The people who tag and graffiti need to make suitable reparations to clean up their anti social behaviour instead of the pathetically low fines they are given. Take away their benefits if they are unemployed, they would soon change their ways.

  3. Thanet Council should order private property owners / tenants and all public buildings to remove any graffiti off their premises regardless if dwellings or commercial premises failure to comply they should be find £500. The sooner graffiti is removed the sooner the graffiti Vandals will learn it’s a waste of time doing it in the first place. Graffiti vandals should be fined up to £5000 or 12 months in prison.

    • Really, so you feel it’s reasonable to make people liable for fines for failing to remove the artisitic endeavours of the irresponsible? I can go with that if i’m allowed to take a big stick to deal with anyone i catch “decorating” my property and have no fear of being prosecuted. But as that wouldn’t be seen as reasonable making people pay for the criminal activities of others is never going to be a popular policy.
      The only solution is dealingwith the “artists” in such a way as to discourage their activities, taking the lazy/easy option of putting the burden on the property owner is part of mindset that has emboldened the irresponsible in society. What next, fined if you don’t,

      Pick up dog dirt that may get left outside your house?
      Not picking up litter as you walk around town?
      Not weeding the kerbs where ypu can?
      Having dirty windows on your home?

    • Trouble is Bill some graffiti is called art. So who decides if the graffiti should be cleaned off or the wall taken down and placed in dreamland ?

      By all means remove tagging

      • Tagging is an integral part of graffiti culture and has been since the 80s where it was writers being held in the highest regard for going “all city”. You can see this in Thanet with the likes of CatNeil, Eggs, and Afeks and others.

      • M.M.Rees

        No one is exaggerating I would say over 80% of roads signs have been tagged. Than add all telephone green boxes and other supplies service boxes.

        M.M.Rees do you visit other towns and cities ? Thanet is easily one of the dirtiest places in the uk.

        • I visit lots of the uk due to my job. Thanet is relatively clean and tidy compared to the likes of outskirts of Birmingham, Manchester, Stockport, Stoke, Bristol, SE London, Newcastle, Hastings(sussex coastal towns in general) Most of Lancashire/Yorkshire’s former mill towns, et al.

  4. In respect of the intended 1.2 million of borrowing for homeless services, are the interest and capital repayments on this to come from the social housing rental revenues, future grant receipts or from the councils general revenues ie. Council tax?
    Further , was it not originally intended that the former Oasis building in Edgar Road take over from the Paramount provided Old British Legion building by now? As it looks as though the Legion Building is still being used and the Oasis building sitting empty.

    • Dear Prosthetic Conscience; housing outgoings come from the Housing Revenue Account, which is separate from general outgoing and incoming revenue.

      The building previously used by Oasis is in use as our RISE Centre, for both accommodation and support.

      Very best wishes,

      Helen.

      • Thanks for the clarification. So TDC are still contracting Paramount to provide the facilities at the Old British Legion? Has the council decided not to require the planning condition requiring the rooms divided, to be reinstated within 3 years? Or has this work been done?

        With respect to the recent article regarding Jackie Bakers, it seemed to suggest that land would be transferred to the housing department for new builds and that money could be borrowed to redevelop the pavillion etc.
        If that transfer were to go ahead will the housing department be paying for the land ? As it seems odd that one department gives away a valuable asset to then have to borrow money to fullfill its core role, the cost of which would fall within general council budgets. Or have i totally misunderstood the outline proposal?

  5. I’m more interested in how they are going to deal with the projected £1.1m overspend for this year before learning about how they are going to spend even more money next year that they don’t seem to have.

    Same old Labour.

  6. although this is most welcome , i have never seen one prosecution for grafitti or vandalism to use the correct term for it , thanet is smothered every where you look , surely someone must see these vandals in action ?

  7. Considering!!!! It’s obvious to me if you don’t pick up litter,let weeds grow on an industrial scale,graffiti will follow. TDC set such low standards that some people think its OK to litter and grafitti.I know KCC are responsible for motorway and road verges but its a fairly clean trip from London and thne you reach Thanet.Quite simply the dirtiest area I have ever come across.
    Weeds grow because the roads are never swept and some alleyways in Thanet are overgrown and unpassable.
    Businesses like McDonalds,Tesco,Lidl should all be held accountable for the disgraceful.I mess outside their properties. Go anywhere in Kent,Sussex and Surrey,all spotlessly clean.

    • Indeed. I’ve just spent two days in Folkestone, and Shepway council do a superb job of keeping the town and seafront clean.

      • There are parts of Folkestone which are an utter discrace. A friend use to live there with the big bins at the end of the road . Most rubbish never went in the bin most just chucked next to. Christmas was even worse. Just launched the rubbish straight out the front doors.

    • No the customers that drop the stuff they can’t be bothered to put in the bin should be held to account , not the businesses that have sold the products.
      The fixation on going for the easy option and letting the real wrong doers get away scott free will just perpetuate the problem raise costs for everyone as the businesses pass on any extra costs incurred.
      Whatever happened to the notion of personal responsibility?

  8. Why should the council have to remove graffiti off private buildings because those who live / own the property are too lazy to remove it.

  9. We are blessed with beautiful scenery here and the beach areas are fairly clean but 90% of us live behind the seafront.This is neglected.The litter,weeds,kerbside turfs,dog poo etc are at apalling levels.Broadstairs and Ramsgate beachfront are full of graffiti. I hear tourists describing the area as a dump.Cant be good for our local economy.

    • The A299 driving into Thanet has car rooftops on it,chairs ,mattress,builders sack skips,broken litter bins,polythene sheeting and that’s before I mention paper cups,tin cans,cigarette packets etc.Then all the road signs,telephone junction,post Bowes are covered in graffiti.The roundabout at Ramsgate port has had a catridge of filler on it fof over 2 years.I drive pass it everyday.Welcome to Thanet.King George would turn in his grave.It don’t look Royal anymore.

  10. The employment of 6 more street cleaners is to be welcomed, especially in my road! We could hold a street party if it gets cleaned!

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