Friday, 10 January 2014

Fees and charges to be considered by Cabinet, future of St Leonards House to be debated

Lancaster City Council’s Cabinet will discuss fees and charges across a range of council services at its next meeting on 21st January, which will include price rises for charges for facilities at Salt Ayre Sports Centre, Community Pools, Williamson Park, the area's Parks and Recreation Grounds.

The meeting will also discuss the future of St Leonards House, home to numerous small businesses, who have been told their leases will not be renewed "for 'strategic development reasons and planned major redevelopment and refurbishment".

One tenant has told us they have to move out by October. The discussion on the future of St. Leonard's House is restricted as discussion relates to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information). We have put a number of questions to the Council about the future of the building and we are awaiting a response.

Every year, the Council examines its fees and charges to ensure that they represent value for money while maintaining a valuable source of income for the council.

With the council having to find savings of £2.8million by February 2015, due mainly to a reduction in the grant it receives from the Government, the pressure on its budget is tighter than ever.

The cost of providing services is also on the increase due to inflation.

The Cabinet report represents a comprehensive review of fees and charges across the council, set in the context of this challenging financial climate.

Charge increase proposals include:
  • Increase the up to 1 hour charge on all Short Stay and Long Stay car parks from £1.20 to £1.30
  • A fee increase of 5% is proposed for most pest control fees - with the aim of making this discretionary activity as close to full cost recovery as possible whilst retaining fees at a level that is affordable for those citizens wishing to access the service
  • Return of stray dog from dog warden service (prior to kennelling) - increased to £40.20 (5% option)
  • Pest control of rats: up to £31 per hour (5% option)
  • A 10p rise on one off admission to Salt Ayre Pool ((up to £3.80 for adults)
  • A 10p rise in admission to Butterfly House in Williamson Park

“Deciding at what level to set fees and charges is always a tricky balancing act," says Mark Cullinan, chief executive of the Council.

"The council will want to ensure that they are reasonable while at the same time making sure that it can cover its own costs and maintain the revenue that helps to fund its many vital services.

“Unfortunately the council is being faced with a decrease in funding from the Government while at the same time the costs of running  services are increasing.

“The pressure on council budgets is therefore tighter than ever and unless some of the fees and charges increase some of our services face an additional risk of being cut.”

A range of increases are proposed across the council’s facilities.  These are based on an assessment of the actual cost of provision - balanced against customer and market awareness - with the aim that any charges recoup the costs of providing the service.

The agenda for the full Cabinet meeting is here

(Cabinet Members with Special Responsibility Councillors Bryning, Hamilton-Cox, Leytham, Sands and Smith)

Additional documents:

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