Pembrokeshire County Council has set a five per cent increase in Council Tax for the financial year 2017-18. This represents an increase of 81p a week or £42.05 a year. The Band D Council Tax levied by the County Council will be £883.15.
The final amount which Council taxpayers will be required to pay will include sums for the Police and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed Powys and their local town or community council.
Pembrokeshire County Council Leader Cllr Jamie Adams said that although Pembrokeshire's Council Tax remains considerably lower than the rest of Wales, the decision by Council to increase it by 5 per cent had not been taken lightly.
"We continue to be in the position where we need to provide more for less," said Cllr Adams. "The last three years have seen significant reductions in our annual settlement from the Welsh Government, coupled with the pressure of rising workforce and demographic costs, as well as new legislation and other factors.
"The result is a funding gap of £10.7m for 2017-18, which the Council intends to bridge through continued cost reductions, efficiencies and the delivery of a Transformation Programme.
"However, Council Tax also has an important role to play. Feedback from members of the public in meetings and consultations has shown that this is one of the more acceptable ways of raising revenue to support service delivery."
He added that despite the budgetary pressures on the Council, the Authority is continuing to deliver exceptional services - overall, the second best in Wales, according to the recent ‘Local Government Performance 2015-16' report.
Members approved the Budget 2017-18 at a meeting of Full Council on 2nd March.
Presenting the Budget to Council, Director of Finance Jon Haswell said it had been developed against the backdrop of three years of reductions in financial settlements and increased workforce, pay, inflation and demographic pressures, resulting in a cumulative funding gap of £41.5m (2014-15 to 2016-17). This was bridged by a combination of £6.3m additional income from Council Tax increases (including base changes) and £35.2m in cost reductions, efficiencies and service transformation.
Mr Haswell's report stated that the forward planning assumptions in the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) 2016-17 to 2019-20 approved by Council on 10th March 2016 have been overtaken by a significant increase in anticipated workforce, pay, inflation, demographic and legislative pressures, and new responsibilities.
This was partially offset by a better than anticipated settlement for 2017-18, albeit a further reduction of 0.1 per cent.
The MTFP 2017-18 to 2020-21 shows a projected funding gap of £45.3m based on anticipated reductions of 3% per annum in the annual settlement from Welsh Government.