Horsham council tax rise and budget agreed

Horsham District Council cabinet member Brian Donnelly
Horsham District Council cabinet member Brian Donnelly

People in Horsham will pay an extra £3.93 a year on the district council’s portion of their council tax bills.

The rise, which was in line with inflation and hailed as the lowest in the county, was approved on Wednesday (February 13) and will take a Band D bill up to £149.53 in 2019/20.

On top of this will be the Sussex Police precept, which has risen by £24, and West Sussex County Council’s portion, which is expected to go up by around £65.

Brian Donnelly, cabinet member for finance and assets, described the increase as ‘reasonable’ and told colleagues to bear in mind that ‘we’re not sure where the future will be’.

Mr Donnelly (Con, Pulborough & Coldwaltham) added that the next 24 months were ‘not clear’ and the 2.7 per cent council tax increase would provide a ‘steady stream of funding’.

He also presented a balanced budget for approval, which he described as ‘a good news story for the citizens’.

A report to the council said that net revenue expenditure for 2019/20 – money used for day-to-day costs – would be £10.4m and the overall capital budget – money for large costs – will be £19.8m.

The are £11.1m of general reserves.

Mr Donnelly said: “We’ve got a balanced budget over the next few years and this is terribly important for obvious reasons.

“All of us know that all councils have been struggling to balance their books because government has been reducing the cash flow to them.

“Plus, costs have gone up for all councils, additional responsibilities without central funding have been loaded on to them.”

Council leader Ray Dawe described the budget as ‘brilliant’.

He added: “It wasn’t arrived at easily. If we go back over a number of years this council faced significant financial difficulty.

“We took action. We took efficiency actions. We took actions to make sure that we delivered all the services and we maintained all the services and we’ve also invested.”