Residents and businesses in the Three Rivers area will soon end up having to pay higher fees for several services provided by the council.
At a full council meeting of Three Rivers District Council (TRDC) on Tuesday, December 13, the increase in charges were approved to go into effect on January 1 next year.
Most of the biggest increases in charges come in the area of environment, with a 19 per cent increase in the charge for garden waste collection with one bin.
The charge for pest control services and removal of dead animals is another area that is increasing in cost, by 10 per cent for all kinds of animals. The same will be true for the disposal of clinical waste for doctors, nursing homes, funeral homes and tattooists amongst others.
People will also have to pay 10 per cent more to buy burial plots in local cemeteries, with the price to buy a full plot going up by more than £120, and the price to install a modern memorial bench going from £2, 2575 to £3, 190.
In terms of fixed penalty notices, the current £200 and £300 fines for fly-tippers are going to increase to £300 and £400 respectively.
In the area of licencing, charges are set to go up by seven per cent, meaning a higher fee for licences for, dog kennels, pet day cares, catteries, private vehicle hire operators, scrap metal site, street traders, advertisers and venues of sexual entertainment. These fees aren’t set to increase until April 1.
Other actions that will cost more from the beginning of next year include the amendment of a house/building name, changing of a street name, pre-application fees for planning development, local land charges, hire of football pitches, and filming.
The one area where prices are not set to increase currently is in parking.
These changes come despite the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, with TRDC also stating in a report that current inflationary pressures have caused an increase of net expenditure for the council of £1,144,000. The increase in charges and fees is expected to generate an additional income of £350,000.
In the report, it is stated: “The increase in fees and charges will help to manage increased cost of service
provision due to inflationary pressures during 2022 and 2023.”
A spokesperson for TRDC said: “The council has worked hard to ensure it is in a position to keep all charges to a minimum, which is what these recommendations will do, if approved by the full council.
“In relation to garden waste – the discounted rate for residents in receipt of benefits would increase by 19%, whilst the standard charge for a first bin would go up by £10 under these proposals.
“There is no direct charge to residents for general waste collection which is free at the point of use.”
Liberal Democrat councillor Stephen Giles-Medhurst, deputy leader of TRDC, said: “Green waste costs have gone up due to costs going up for us. We can only take council tax up by three per cent, so we have no option but to increase charges.
“It’s either service charges go up, or we lose those services. It’s still half of the cost of similar schemes in nearby Hillingdon and Harrow.”
Conservative leader cllr Ciaran Reed said: “We are deeply concerned by the stealth taxes that are being imposed on our residents.
“We are also concerned by the council’s failure to invest in the district, with its investments being made in far-flung parts of the country, rather than in the district, which would have helped the local economy and provided the income needed to keep fees and charges down.”
Council Labour leader Cllr Stephen Cox added: “Inflation under the Tories is at a 40-year record high, and these Liberal Democrat increases in fees only add to the cost-of-living crisis for residents.”