South Ribble Council is the ‘envy’ of Lancashire for its 2013/14 budget proposals, according to one cabinet member.
Coun Phil Smith, who has responsibility for regeneration, leisure and healthy communities, said that anticipating a drastic cut to the authority’s government grant meant that officers had planned well for the future.
Its yearly budget now lies at £13.143m for the next 12 months, up from £12.953m last year.
Coun Smith said: “This is an enviable position this council finds itself in.
“Other administrations have not prepared themselves for the eventuality we all find ourselves in now.
“It reflects well on this council.”
The government has reduced South Ribble’s settlement by 25 per cent over the next two years.
The council’s provisional grant funding for this year is £4.117m – but the overall grant will reduce again in 2014/15 by almost £650,000.
These are some of the largest reductions in the country, and the council plans to address this by making £515,000 in savings and by using £607,000 from reserves.
Cabinet member for finance, Coun Stephen Robinson, said: “We have taken a cut from our government grant, but we anticipated we were going to be cut and our general reserve figure is good. Overall I think we have a comprehensive, conservative budget; one that is cause for optimism in South Ribble. We will continue to provide a good service to our residents.”
After initially announcing it would have to take out £635,000 from general reserves to balance the books, the council has dropped that to £607,000 after getting an extra £22,000 from the New Homes Bonus and an extra £6,000 from the government’s Council Tax Freeze Grant than it originally expected.
The Conservative authority has accepted a one-year Council Tax Freeze Grant worth £78,000, and has vowed to invest in community safety and make park improvements over the next 12 months, whilst also freezing car parking charges to support town centre traders.
Council leader Margaret Smith said: “I think this is an extremely good job well done.
“We have a good report before us for 2013/14.”