The Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority (KMFRA) is consulting the public on its Council Tax for 2015/16.
Since 2010/11 the Authority has found £14m (around 20% of our total budget) as part of a savings and investment programme. As a result of this planned approach the Authority has managed to make the necessary savings, whilst still maintaining good emergency cover across the county. Investment in frontline services has included new technology that can fight fires more effectively such as high powered fire suppression systems, increased training and improved protective clothing for firefighters.
However, as Government funding will continue to be reduced for the foreseeable future, the Authority is asking local people how much they are willing to pay for the KMFRA component of their Council Tax.
The options are:
- An increase of just over 2p per week per Band D household which is just under 2%. The KMFRA Council Tax bill for a Band D property would therefore be approximately £70.65 a year. This option would allow the Authority to continue with its plan to deliver an efficient and effective service to local people whilst being able to make planned efficiency savings in a way that would have least impact on service delivery.
- An increase of over 2%. Each 1% increase means on average a 1p rise per week in Council Tax for an average Band D property. An increase of above 2% would allow the Authority to continue to invest in frontline services and equipment. .
- A Council Tax freeze. 0% would mean that the Authority would have to find a further £760k savings, above those already identified, but the KMFRA Band D Council Tax would remain at the current rate of £69.30 per year.
Nick Chard, Chairman of KMFRA said: “The Authority is very conscious that money is still tight for families, but we believe that local people value the good service provided. Kent Fire and Rescue Service is there, round the clock, dealing with all kinds of emergencies, from floods to explosions, fires to road traffic collisions. An increase of just under 2% would allow us to maintain a good level of emergency cover while continuing to make efficiency savings in a planned and gradual way. This would mean the cost of the Service would still be under £1.36 per household per week for a Band D property. That is not much more than the price of a litre of petrol, which is still remarkably good value for money.”
The consultation questionnaire is online from 20 November until 9am on 14 January 2015. A paper version can be sent to anyone who calls us on 01622 692 121 or writes to us at Kent Fire and Rescue Service, The Godlands, Straw Mill Hill, Tovil, Kent ME15 6XB.
The results of the consultation will then go to the Authority meeting in February 2015 for a final decision.