Free town centre parking proposed in council budget - The Rugby Observer

Free town centre parking proposed in council budget

Rugby Editorial 6th Feb, 2019   0

FREE town centre parking and changes to bin collections have been proposed – alongside a tax hike – by Rugby Borough Council (RBC).

Announcing its proposed budget for 2019-20, RBC plans to raise its share of Council Tax bills by 2.99 per cent – amounting to an extra £4.19 per year for an average Band D property.

Warwickshire County Council and Warwickshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner have already announced plans to raise their shares by an average of £65 and £24 per year respectively, meaning Rugby residents face a rise of over £93 per year for an average Band D property.

Proposals in RBC’s budget include free parking at council-run car parks at weekends and from 6pm to 6am on weekdays, funded by £60,000 of tax collected from businesses in out-of-town retail parks during 2019-20.

The council also plans to save £125,000 a year by collecting rubbish from the kerbside only, reducing mileage and increasing fuel efficiency by phasing out narrow waste collection vehicles that can navigate narrow alleyways and farm tracks.

A further £40,000 raised via tax from out-of-town retail parks will pay for an extra housing officer to help people out of homelessness.

And £25,000 will support environmental projects including the Severn Trent refill scheme promoting the reuse of water bottles, the installation of Rugby town centre’s first electric vehicle charging points, and a commitment that the borough council will stop purchasing any further single use plastics from April 1.

Other similarly-funded proposals include a £5,000 donation to the garden project being promoted by St Andrew’s Church, with an additional £20,000 match-funding to be unlocked by public donations.

A maximum of £80,000 from an underspend in the 2018-19 budget will be used to improve disability access to the main democratic chamber of the Town Hall, including improved audio visual equipment.

Council leader Coun Michael Stokes said: “While any increase in council tax will be unwelcome, our proposed increase of just over ten pence per week for a typical Band D property will allow us to continue to support our most vulnerable residents.

“While other local authorities are having to make substantial cuts to front-line services, prudent financial management over many years has meant that we have been able to continue to fund the services our residents value.

“Changes to our shopping habits continue to have an impact on high streets across the country, so our commitment to fund free parking on evenings and weekends will give businesses based in the town centre their best chance to thrive.

“The garden project aiming to open up an underused town centre space led by St Andrew’s Church will get a welcome kick-start, with further funding available to match public donations.

“And, while we have had some success in helping street homeless residents into permanent accommodation, there is a need for more of this intensive support which we are committed to provide.”

Rugby Borough Council keeps less than ten pence in every pound of council tax collected, with Warwickshire County Council, Warwickshire Police, Parish Council and town area precepts making up the rest.

Councillors will set the RBC 2019-20 budget at a meeting on Tuesday February 26. Visit one week before the meeting for more information.


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