Message from the Leader - March
On 12th February the Council approved its 2019/20 budget. Once again, we have delivered a balanced budget with no cuts and significant, targeted investment in those services that we know matter most to you, our residents.
Our proposals for growth will help us provide you with improved customer services in key areas including planning enforcement and the protection and management of our open spaces and parks. A new Waste Management post will support the work we wish to do on electric vehicle charging and reducing plastic waste and, with support from the Police and Crime Commissioner, we are creating a new Joint Enforcement Team to help tackle anti-social behaviour.
We are tackling the staff recruitment and retention issues that have been impacting on our services and costs in planning, finance and other key service areas and we are also increasing resources to improve project management to help us deliver our property development projects more efficiently and at lower cost.
We are also continuing to invest in our Town Centres and in those communities that need it most - for example £60,000 is being earmarked for a study to make better use of public assets and create new community facilities in North Leatherhead.
And, because we believe in working with and trusting our communities, we are doubling the funds available for Capital Community Grants as well as significantly increasing funding for our Small Grants scheme.
Despite all of this, MVDC's Council Tax will remain the second lowest in Surrey, increasing by a modest £5.11p per annum (less than 10p a week) at Band D. And, with the pressures and uncertainties on household incomes in mind, we have also halved the overall increase in our fees and charges to 2.5%.
I am often asked how Mole Valley is able to do all of this in the face of significant reductions in Government support. The answer is responsible financial management with a focus on value for money. Our programme of efficiencies has shaved 40% off the Council's net budget since 2008 and we are steadily reducing the cost of our services per head of population with the aim of getting it below £100 per head.
We also believe in innovation - one example of this approach is our successful Asset Investment Strategy which invests responsibly to generate income for Mole Valley services. And we work in partnership with others where it helps residents - for example our Joint Waste Contract is forecast to save taxpayers between £1.2 and £1.4 million every year.
I am enormously proud that Mole Valley's services are some of the best in the country with eight services having received customer service excellence accreditation and our housing service being awarded the National Practitioner Support Services Gold Standard for preventing homelessness. By listening, acting responsibly and putting you, our residents, first, I am confident we can keep it that way.
Councillor Vivienne Michael
Leader of the Council