At its Budget Meeting last night (19 February 2018) Oxford City Council passed its Budget for 2018/19 and Medium Term Financial Strategy.
The Budget will see an increase in the Oxford City Council element of residents’ Council Tax bill by 2.99 per cent per year, equivalent to an additional £8.67 for a Band D dwelling. Separately, Oxfordshire County Council will be increasing its share of Council Tax by 5.99 per cent per year, equivalent to an additional £80.60 for a Band D dwelling; and Thames Valley Police will increase its Council Tax charge by 7 per cent per year, equivalent to an additional £12 for a Band D dwelling.
Under the agreed Budget, Oxford City Council will deliver:
- increased spending to combat homelessness and eliminate rough sleeping, amounting to a further £187,000 on top of an additional £200,000 a year, from 2019/20
- an additional £5 million to buy properties for temporary accommodation
- to provide council housing as part of the redevelopment of the East Oxford Community Centre
- an extended energy advice service for council tenants to reduce carbon emissions and reduce fuel poverty coupled with an additional £100,000 for energy efficiency work in council properties and an ongoing programme of £24.4 million to raise standards in council homes
- funding equivalent to two Police Community Support Officers for use in partnership with Thames Valley Police in areas where depleted police numbers are having the highest impact
- funding for a new sports facility at Five Mile Drive Recreation Ground
- a freeze in park and ride charges for most stays and bringing terms and conditions into line with those at Oxfordshire County Council Park and Ride facilities and introduction of a free hour’s parking for blue badge concessions
- changes to car park charges that include a £2 charge for an hour's stay at Headington car park
- additional funding of £200,000 to create new controlled parking zones, where there is local support for these
- a new project fund to promote the Oxford Living Wage
- continuing to provide the full level of council tax support to households on low incomes
- an increase in Council Tax premium from 50 per cent to 100 per cent for homes empty and unfurnished for more than two years as soon as relevant legislation comes into force
- a £1.6 million investment in the fabric of the Covered Market
- additional investment in our tree team, to ensure potentially dangerous trees are treated and made safe
- the establishment of a Local Authority Trading Company, Oxford Direct Services, to offer services to local firms, charities and other organisations, with additional income of £500,000 being forecast annually once the organisation is established
- continued provision of our programme of grants of £1.4 million to the community and voluntary sectors as well as increased funding of £1 million for the Museum of Oxford (levering in £1.3 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund) to ensure both visitors and local people are able to access an excellent insight into our city’s history.
Councillor Ed Turner, Board Member for Finance and Asset Management said: "I am very glad that there was such strong support for this budget from across the council. The need for frontline service cuts has been avoided by sound financial management and the decision to deliver services in-house, and I am especially pleased that our investment priorities, such as extra funding to tackle homelessness, were agreed by the council."
74.6 per cent of the total charge is collected by Oxford City Council on behalf of the County Council. With another 9.5 per cent of the total being collected on behalf of the Police and Crime Commissioner for the Thames Valley, this means that 15.9 per cent of the bill total stays with the City Council.