West Lancashire Borough Council is announcing good news for residents, shoppers and businesses as it freezes council tax for the fifth year running, and parking charges for the third year, while investing in key initiatives to improve the borough.
The decisions were made at the Council meeting on 26 February 2014, when Councillors met to agree the budget for the 2014/15 financial year.
Councillor David Westley, portfolio holder for Resources and Transformation, said: “These are still difficult economic times for everyone so we have decided to freeze the Council Tax for the fifth successive year. We are able to achieve this while setting a budget that maintains service levels in those services which are most valued by local people. We are not announcing any cuts and as a result of prudent financial management we are able to continue investing in important schemes for the borough.”
The Council has allocated £490,000 to a town centre/environmental improvement budget which will see projects advanced in Skelmersdale and Ormskirk. In Coronation Park in Ormskirk the toddler’s play area close to Morrisons will be refurbished with new equipment installed and some re-surfacing carried out. The budget also provides funding to go towards improvements proposed for Moor Street. These include new paving, new seats, street lights, litter bins and tree planting with a new layout to accommodate the market stalls. Re-surfacing and associated works will also be carried out in a number of Borough Council pay and display car parks in Ormskirk town centre. In Skelmersdale plans include landscape and footpath improvements in the area between West Lancashire College and The Concourse Shopping Centre.
A key aim of the Council’s draft economic strategy will be to see how the borough can take advantage of opportunities created by the new Liverpool Superport. This will open up the Port of Liverpool to receive some of the largest container vessels in the world. To ensure the Council is in the best position to achieve this aim it has allocated £21,000 to become a member of the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, which is heavily involved in the project.
The Council hopes the Superport will create jobs in West Lancashire and see new firms come forward for example to take over the vacant Comet warehouse in Skelmersdale. In the medium term the Superport may also encourage the remodelling of industrial estates such as Pimbo and Gillibrands with more modern and fit-for-purpose units due to the increase in demand for premises.
The Council is committed to tackling anti-social behaviour and addressing concerns about the night time economy. Funding has been allocated in the budget to help the Council look at alternatives to an Early Morning Restriction Order (EMRO) .
Extra funding has also been approved to help enhance CCTV coverage in the borough.
Other key budget decisions include:
Councillor Westley said: “We are pleased to be investing in the borough while maintaining service levels. But there are difficult times ahead for the Council as we are facing a further £1m reduction in our government funding in 2015/16. We are working on a new business plan for 2015-2018 to help us cope with this and any other future financial challenges.”
The Council Tax paid to West Lancs Borough Council for Borough Council services for the average Band D property in 2014/15 will be £183.55 per year – £3.53 a week – exactly the same as in 2009/10, 2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13 and 2013/14.
Around 12% of the council tax bill comes to the borough council.
The total council tax includes charges from Lancashire County Council, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and Lancashire Constabulary. The Council Tax for some areas will also include a parish council precept.
The bills for ‘average’ Band D properties (excluding parish council precepts) are set out below. Most properties within West Lancs are in Bands A-C and so the majority of householders will pay less than the figures stated below.
|West Lancashire Borough Council||£183.55||£183.55||Frozen|
|Lancashire County Council||£1,086.13||£1,107.74||1.99% increase|
|Lancashire Combined Fire Authority||£63.65||£63.65||Frozen|
|Lancashire Police Authority||£152.92||£155.96||1.99% increase|