Agenda item

Fees and Charges 2024/25

To consider the attached report of the Head of Finance and Investment.


The Strategic Director (Finance and Housing) and the Strategic Director (Place and Environment) were present to answer Members questions on the proposed Fees and Charges for 2024/25.



Q1.    More detail on the forecast increase in subscriber numbers for the garden waste service


The Council was not forecasting an increase in subscriber numbers. It was expected that there would be a reduction in existing subscribers as part of the transition to containerisation.


Q5.    On page 59 the list assumes that there will be an increase of 500 subscribers for 2023/24 but on page 50 item 231 predicts a reduction in 2023/24 of 156 subscribers from the previous year. How do you explain the contradiction?


          The Council anticipated a slight reduction in subscriber numbers as some 700 current subscribers would not be able to use the new service. The figure of 500 was an estimate of those who may join the service after the end of February or subscribe for an additional container who would need to purchase it.


Q2.    Impact of the changes agreed at Cabinet yesterday on the £200K additional income figure that was in the parking report.


This would be answered as part of the next agenda item.


Q3.    Overall change in forecast income that will result from the fees and charges changes agreed by Cabinet yesterday (i.e. what will be included in the Budget)


The starting point was, as in previous years, that the Council had an extremely challenging financial situation and needed to maximise income while continuing to set reasonable fees and charges.


The total income from fees & charges (excluding parking income) in the 2023/24 budget was c.£5.2 million. The forecast level for 2024/25 was £5.6 million. The total increase was approximately £400,000.


Q4.    On page 51 of the list of fees and charges for Environmental Health it does not indicate whether they are statutory or not. Are we meant to assume that they are all statutory?


These all related to statutory functions. The fees listed on this page all related to fixed penalties. They were a power rather than a duty and local authorities may issue a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) offering the alleged offender the opportunity to discharge their liability to conviction. A parameter for the level of the FPN is usually set by legislation which then allows the authority to set it within that parameter.


There needed to be a balance when setting the amount of the fine to encourage payment to be made and therefore avoided the costs of taking a prosecution should the payment not be made. If a fine was unpaid within the requisite period, the alleged offender became liable to prosecution through the Courts, which could then become more costly for the authority. Fines through the Courts were retained by the Court, not the Council.


Q6.    On page 67 can finance provide data on the number of court summons and liability orders served per annum.


The Strategic Director (Finance and Housing) advised that the charges were based around cost recovery.


The details were as follows:



Summons Council Tax 3612

Liability Order  Council Tax 3219


Summons Business Rates 223

Liability Order Business Rates 170



Summons CTAX 3755

Liability Order CTAX 2838


Summons Business Rates 246

Liability Order Business Rates 183


2023/24 (up to 31.08.23)

Summons CTAX 2656

Liability Order CTAX 842


Summons Business Rates 157

Liability Order Business Rates 133


Q7.    Do we have an estimate as to the loss of revenue from schools' museum bookings caused by KCC closing the discovery centre for refurbishment?


It was not anticipated that the Discovery Centre project would affect school activities.


Q8.    The purple bag fees are recurring vs plastic bin which is to all intents and purposes a one off. Is this equitable?


The purple sacks and/or wheeled bins were provided for to all customers. The charges set out for purple sacks were to enable residents who used either type of container to purchase sacks to provide them with additional capacity beyond that provided by the standard container provision.


Q9.    Green waste. Am I right that existing users of the scheme will get the green bin included in the annual fee for next year? New customers are charged for a bin in addition to annual fee?


The offer to existing subscribers is that they will be provided with the wheeled bin for free if they renew their subscription.


Q10. Can I be advised how our increase in fees and allowances varies from the previous years' increases, if at all, considering inflation?


There were c.20 workbooks and there were c.600 different fees.


It was not possible to go back to past years and research them, but as a guide Heads of Service considered, with portfolio holders, the costs of the service, inflation, comparable charges and sensible price points.


Q11. When will there be a review of memorial benches trees etc? Do we know what approx. revenue loss will be incurred whilst these are suspended?


It was hoped that this would be reviewed during the coming financial year. There was no revenue loss from this as the fees charged for memorial benches were simply covering costs incurred.


Members also raised the following points:


·         That the charge for using Kearsney Park for weddings was lower than in other districts. It was stated that this was because the Council was trying to build this new business. Additionally, there was a desire not to exclude local residents from using it for weddings by setting the price to high.

·         The 21% increase in charges for fishing at Deal Pier. It was stated that this would need to be looked into but it was likely that this was due to rounding the increase to the nearest pound.  

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