Council Budget set for 2019/20
A SERIES of investments, events and initiatives have been greenlit by Stanley Town Council after it agreed its annual budget tonight (22 January).
The Council backed the 2019/20 Budget and has brought forward an ambitious programme to help breathe new life into the town and surrounding villages.
Amongst projects approved are the popular summer “Play in the Park” events for children and parents during the summer holidays, the purchase and upkeep of two new police vehicles to support local policing teams and the town’s Christmas lights, not to mention Stanley’s spectacular annual fireworks extravaganza.
The Council is also developing a new approach to grant funding by creating a Stanley Fund, which will help to deliver more than double the current level of grant support to Stanley groups and organisations at no additional cost to residents by bringing in match funding from local businesses, local MP Kevan Jones and the Police and Crime Commisioner Ron Hogg.
Leader of Stanley Town Council, Cllr David Marshall, said that the new budget would help the town and outlying villages add to the progress made since the make-up of the authority changed in the 2017 local elections.
“Last year was the new council’s first opportunity to look at investment priorities for Stanley and ensure that every penny spent is aimed at making things better for the people of our area,” said Cllr Marshall.
“For too long the Council had not been addressing long-term needs, so we asked the people who voted for us to tell us what their priorities are and how their money should be spent. From that feedback, we created the Medium-Term Plan to help us focus our budget in areas of maximum need where our spending will have the most beneficial impact.
“There is no doubt, the Government’s harsh and unrelenting austerity measures continue to be felt across County Durham and the wider region, but Stanley Town Council will continue to fund projects that improve the lives of people in the Stanley area.”
The Council has been forced to increase its precept by 3% from the level set in the 2018/19 Budget.
“We don’t take lightly any rise in taxation, especially in these challenging times,” added Cllr Marshall, “however we are determined to support our communities in the most meaningful way we can.”
Last year, the Council’s funding enabled Stanley residents to benefit from a five day a week face to face debt management and advice service provided by the Advice in County Durham partnership in what is seen as a model service in the County. The Council secured a new building for the Just for Women Centre, a multi award winning project supporting vulnerable women in the heart of our community.
The Council launched a new dedicated community wardens service to support commnuities and improve the environment, provided a detached youth service to engage with young people and continued to support PACT House, which has become a vital community resource since it began operating 3 years ago.
“As a Council, we have agreed that these services which are vital to our residents need to continue to be funded. But there is more work to be done”.
Now agreed, the Budget will allow the Council to roll-out of its new festive lighting programme to villages and outlying communities within the parish, as well as improve its heritage and events offer with the creation of a ‘Miner’s Sunday’ celebration and greater support for memorial events within the Town Council area and the new Beacon of Light in future years. The Council is also planning to bring community cinema back to the Town by re-commissioning the cinema capability of the Civic Hall.
Chair of the Finance Committee, Cllr Mark Davinson, said: “This Budget allows us to press ahead with our ambitions of making Stanley a better place to live, work and visit. There is fresh impetus running through this Town with the recent investment in our retail offer and the raft of environmental improvements the Town Council has been able to introduce, and long may that continue.
“However, we are not resting on our laurels. If we are asking for more from our residents, it is because we must deliver more. If there is something in your community that needs to be addressed, tell us. We will do all we can to make things better for the people of our parish.”
Full details of the budget are linked below: