This money is used to fund the Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service (BFRS) providing emergency response to fires, road traffic collisions and water rescues as well as community fire and home safety advice.
To take part in the consultation people should go to www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/BFRSBud2019 where they can find out more about the change. The consultation closes at 12.01 on Friday 25 January 2019.
Cllr Paul Downing, Chair of the Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Authority said: “This consultation asks local people if they would support our proposal of an increase of just £2.86 per year, that would make a Band D annual council tax charge for the Fire & Rescue Service, £98.45.
“Additionally, we are also asking if council taxpayers could agree with a slightly higher increase of between £3 and £5 per year instead. Although this is not planned and, in any case, would trigger a public vote, we simply wish to gauge the level of support for any such proposal. I am confident that the Bedfordshire Fire Service is effective and efficient and keeps people safe, but there does need to be a small increase in public contributions to maintain this level of performance”
The results of the survey will be presented to members of the BFRA at their budget setting meeting being held at Dunstable Community Fire Station on 7 February 2019 at 10am.
Each year the BFRA sets a draft budget that follows the aims and objectives of the Service and prioritises the resources available for frontline services. Their budget requirement for 2019/20 was approved for consultation at £29.672m, with a Capital Programme totalling £1.736m.
Currently there is a gap in our budget forecast for 2023/24 of about £1m, which the FRA is considering closing by un-allocating some reserves and finding new savings and efficiencies that will be introduced over the coming years.
Up to and including the 2019/20 budget, the Authority has seen the Government’s revenue and capital funding reduce by £11.7m since 2010/11. Continued and further reductions to both revenue and capital are forecast at £3.974m over the 2020/21 to 2022/23 financial years.
To manage these funding reductions, the Authority has introduced savings and efficiencies of £5.811m, with at least a further £1.017m planned. Revenue and Capital budget pressures including pay awards, general inflation and our replacement 999 call handling system have been included within this budget setting cycle.