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Wednesday 31 January

Cabinet to discuss budget plans 

Play areas, leisure centres and tourism could benefit from significant investment if plans for Swale Borough Council’s budget are approved by councillors.

The plans are being put to the council’s cabinet next week (Wednesday, 7 February), before a final decision is made at a council meeting on 21 February.

The budget proposals include plans to invest £500,000 on new equipment for play areas and £250,000 to help boost tourism. Two million pounds could also be set aside for major improvements for Sittingbourne and Sheppey leisure centres, and the planning department could receive additional resources to help manage an increasing number of planning applications.

To help manage the impact of the loss of £1.3m in funding from central government, the plans propose asking a typical band D property for an additional £4.95 a year. This would be only the second increase in Swale’s share of the council tax in eight years, and would mean a band D property paying £169.83 a year for their local council services.

Cllr Duncan Dewar-Whalley, Cabinet Member for Finance at the Council, said:

"We have worked hard to make sure the loss of funding from central government hasn’t led to any reduction in our frontline services.

"This has not been easy, and difficult decisions have had to be made, but we still want to invest in services that are important to local people, so are proposing a modest increase in council tax.

"A typical band D household will be paying just £3.27 a week for the services we provide, which I still believe is excellent value when you consider the range of services we provide."

Charges for Swale Borough Council services are only one element of the final council tax bill residents receive. This also includes charges for Kent County Council, Kent Police, Kent & Medway Fire and Rescue Service, and parish or town councils where these exist. These are set by the respective organisations, and are collected on their behalf by Swale.

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