Garden waste collection charges could be set to rise in North Somerset
- Credit: Local Democracy Reporting Service
Charges for garden waste collections in North Somerset could increase from April.
The move comes amid a budget squeeze – despite plans to compensate residents for disruption this summer.
More households than expected signed up to the £50-a-year service, which was blighted with delays and reduced collections over the summer due to the national shortage of HGV drivers.
North Somerset Council may increase the charge in line with inflation or hold it at the current level to alleviate some of those frustrations - but that would require cuts elsewhere, a report said.
Council tax bills are also set to go up by three per cent but will be outpaced by inflation, so Councillor Ash Cartman said tough decisions are needed.
Another proposal the authority is considering is an increase in parking charges after the income stream was hit by Covid-19 and annual cost increases.
Finance boss Cllr Cartman told his executive colleagues on December 8: “We have some difficult choices ahead of us.
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“The priority is to protect frontline services.”
The council’s budget is under pressure from staffing costs, energy bills that could rise by 67 per cent next year and income shortfalls, largely from parking.
Council tax is expected to increase by two per cent, with a further one per cent rise to fund adult social care, half the amount allowed last year. Inflation is currently at four per cent.
Cllr Mike Bell blamed the government for budget pressures in adult services.
“They still insist on tying the hands of local government in terms of our ability to raise council tax or our social care precept to help balance the books,” he said.
“If you can’t find the money necessary to help us to deliver the social care that by law we’re required to provide, at least give us the flexibility to make decisions and ask residents to pay more.”
No decisions have yet been made on increasing garden waste or parking charges but the report says alternative savings will have to be made if they do not go ahead.
The budget for 2022/23 will be approved in February.