How the Northumberland County Council budget will impact you
However the authority also revealed it would be spending more on road improvements and even public toilets.
“A budget focused on economic recovery, protecting frontline services and looking after the most vulnerable,” is how Northumberland County Council has described its latest budget.
But, what does that mean for you?
Here we look at how the budget will affect you.
If the budget is voted through Council Tax is expected to go up by 4.24% – this is made up of a 1.99% base increase plus a further 2.25% earmarked for adult social care.
This equates to Band A households paying an extra £49.74 per year while those living in Band D properties would pay an additional £73.61 per year.
Savings of £9.7m are also earmarked, although Council Leader Coun Glen Sanderson stressed these will not be at the expense of frontline services.
He said: “We have been clear any savings must not affect our frontline services and we feel we have achieved this.
“Wherever possible, these savings will be achieved by doing things differently – by transforming the way the Council delivers its services and being more efficient.
“And caring for the young and vulnerable will remain and be a top priority for the council, with funds earmarked for a further raft of school improvements and delivery progressing on planned sites for extra care housing.
“We know these are difficult times for many, so we’ve strived to ensure a fair and balanced budget.
“We’re putting forward a proposal for a Council Tax Hardship scheme which will provide additional help for low income households who may be struggling with bills at the present time.
“We’re also keen to find long-term solutions to some of the issues Northumberland faces around health and poverty and are organising a Health Inequalities Summit for March to examine what action we can take to address these.”
More than £2m has been earmarked to maintain the county’s roads and footpaths.
The budget report confirmed that £2.225m has been allocated in 2022-23 for highway maintenance investment in U and C roads and footways.
Housing, renewable energy and leisure centres
The budget proposals include an ambitious £307m capital programme for 2022/23 covering everything from major investment in affordable housing, continued improvements to leisure centres and a range of renewable energy schemes to make the county greener and cleaner.
Better public toilets across the county are in the pipeline in the council’s forthcoming budget.
The council’s Cabinet is being asked to approve £1.35m for a three-year programme of improvement and refurbishment work – with the final sign off then by full council at the budget setting meeting on February 23.
The County Council is responsible for 54 public toilets, many of which have received only essential maintenance in the past decade, with a backlog of refurbishment work required across most facilities.
Now a major capital investment programme is being put forward to improve the standards of public toilets, with facilities in the larger main towns and key tourism destinations getting a programme of full refurbishment and modernisation.
All remaining county council toilets will undergo essential refurbishment, so facilities are brought up to a decent standard of repair and are easier to keep clean and maintain.
Around £920,000 will be allocated to improving facilities in the main towns, with work including backlog maintenance, replacement of old equipment where required and in some cases new cubicles and internal walls.
A further £500,000 will be spent on essential refurbishment on all remaining facilities, while £50,000 will go towards accessibility improvements in all toilets involving simple changes such as colour contrasts, better signs and lighting which research has shown can make public toilets easier to use for people with dementia, incontinence, sight or other sensory impairments.
What happens next?
The budget plans will be considered by an all-member scrutiny committee on February 7, Cabinet on February 8 and the final proposals will then be put before full Council and discussed on February 23.