Council Tax is set for 2018/19

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At a meeting of Council on 22 February 2018, Epping Forest District Councillors made the decision to increase Council Tax for the first time since 2010, following the inclusion of law and order initiatives to improve anti-social issues in the district.

Tax levels may be set higher still as Essex County Council, Essex Police, Essex Fire and Rescue and some Town and Parish Council’s have confirmed increases their Council Tax share too.

An average Band D property will pay an extra £3.69 a year for their District Council Tax contribution.

 

Council Tax

Epping Forest District Councillors agreed the 2.48% increase in the District Council’s portion of Council Tax to absorb the cost of 3 extra police officers employed to work closely with the Community Safety Team. The decision was taken as residents call for more visible policing to deter and deal with cases of anti-social behaviour in local towns and villages.

Finance Portfolio Holder, Councillor Gagan Mohindra said: “This budget is a significant departure from our policy in recent years as it proposes the first increase in Council Tax since 2010/11. This change is necessary to provide additional funds to combat the scourge of anti-social behaviour. Earlier we discussed the problems being faced by our residents on a daily basis and it is vital that we act to address these. We hope that over the 3 year trial period we are providing funding for, the police will be in a better place than they are now and that it will be possible to withdraw our support.”

“This is the first time for eight years that we are increasing the Council Tax but it is for a specific reason and for a limited time period, to provide the public with additional services they have said they want.”

Derek Macnab – Chief Executive

Following the announcement that Epping Forest District Council’s Chief Executive Glen Chipp, is leaving to become Chief Executive of Horsham District Council, Council agreed the recommendation to appointment Derek Macnab as acting Chief Executive and Head of Paid Services with immediate effect.

Council Leader, Councillor Chris Whitbread, thanked Glen Chipp for his service to Epping Forest District Council and its residents before welcoming the appointment of Derek Macnab.

He said: “Derek Macnab’s brief is to maintain the momentum of our modernisation and organisational development of the Council. No doubt he will bring his own personal style and approach to the process, but the drivers for change remain. We are a strong, well-managed Council moving towards a position of financial independence as central government funding ends.”

A minute for reflection

A minute’s silence was observed by Council in memory of Councillor Brian Surtees and former Council Leader Di Collins, who both passed away earlier this month.

A heartfelt speech was first given by Council Leader Chris Whitbread, offering sincere condolences to the friends and family of both former Councillors. An abundance of tributes from Councillors from all parties followed, praising and sharing kind words in memory of both Councillor Brian Surtees and Di Collins.

Elections 2018

Simon Hill has been appointed as Electoral Registration Officer and Returning Officer for Epping Forest District Council in advance of this year’s elections, on 3 May 2018.

Mr Hill was also appointed Monitoring Officer for the Council, a role which is responsible for the governance of Council officers and elected Councillors.

Access a range of services over Christmas

Written on . Posted in Abandoned vehicles, Animal welfare, Arts, Benefits, Buckhurst Hill, Business, Business rates, Chigwell, Community, Council tax, Crime and safety, Environmental health, Epping, Food safety, Health, Housing, Housing repairs, Local business, Loughton, Museum, Noise, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Parking, Playschemes, Recycling and waste, Residents, Sports, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Our building may be closed from 5pm on Friday 22 December 2017 until 9am Tuesday 2 January 2018, but we are still providing a wide range of services by phone and online throughout the Christmas break.

Self serve online

Contact us

Non emergency

You can report missed bin collections, noise complaints, fly tipping, fraud, abandoned vehicles online

Emergency

If you need to report an emergency, please contact us on the below details.

  • Call 01992 564199 for housing related emergencies (loss of power, blockages, uncontainable leaks, if you are locked out of your home)
  • Call 01992 564000 for all other emergency enquiries

Your call will connect to the Mears support desk which will be manned 24/7 until the offices reopen on Tuesday 2 January 2018.

Social media

We will be able to assist you through the council’s social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook from 9am until 9pm every day throughout the Christmas period.

Pay for it

You are able to pay your council tax, rent, business rates and leasehold charges via the online payment portal and by phone 24/7.

  • Pay online
  • Pay by phone 01992 564600
  • The Debden Broadway cash office will close at 4:30pm on Friday 22 December 2017 and reopen 9am on Tuesday 2 January 2018
  • The payment kiosks in the civic offices, Epping will close at 4:40pm on Friday 22 December 2017 and reopen at 9am on Tuesday 2 January 2018
  • The payment kiosk in Waltham Abbey library is subject to Waltham Abbey library opening hours

Benefit payments revised dates

2 scheduled Benefit payments will be made earlier than usual over the Christmas period.

  • Payments due on 25 December 2017 will be made on Friday 22 December 2017
  • Payments due on 1 January 2018 will be made on Wednesday 27 December 2017

Please remember that the period until the next payment will be slightly longer because it will revert to the original schedule.

Apply for it

Apply for planning permission, building regulations, council housing, licensing, jobs applications and more online. Applications made throughout this time will be processed when the offices reopen on Tuesday 2 January 2018.

Waste and recycling

Revised collections

  • Collections due Tuesday 26 December 2017 will be collected on Wednesday 27 December 2017
  • Collections due Wednesday 27 December 2017 will be collected on Thursday 28 December 2017
  • Collections due Thursday 28 December 2017 will be collected on Friday 29 December 2017
  • Collections due Friday 29 December 2017 will be collected on Saturday 30 December 2017

Your usual collection dates will resume on Tuesday 2 January 2018.

Recycling REAL Christmas trees

Leave your real Christmas trees with your food and garden waste throughout January 2018.

Remove the pot, all decorations and if over 6ft, cut in half to ensure safe collection. We are unable to recycle your fake Christmas trees, so please leave us real trees only!

Special collections

Our special collections service will close at 5pm on Friday 22 December 2017 and will resume at 9am on 2 January 2018.

Lost or found dogs

If you have lost or found a dog within the area, please contact us on the below number. Calls are monitored and handled by the Waltham Forest dog team.

  • Call 07815 512833

Car parks

Free weekend parking in December! All of our car parks are free on weekends throughout December and bank holidays.

Epping Forest District Museum

Epping Forest District Museum is closed from 4pm on Friday 22 December 2017 and reopens 10am on Tuesday 2 January 2018.

Residents give their views to the PFCC

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Council tax, Crime and safety, Democracy, Epping, Equalities, Loughton, Media, Meetings, Older people, Ongar, Our performance, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex (PFCC) Roger Hirst hosted a public meeting at the civic offices on Monday 20 December hearing resident’s views on crime in the district.

Watch the webcast

Roger Hirst PFCC and Caroline Wiggins of Epping Forest District Council

Working with you to keep our community safe

The public meeting gave residents a chance to hear from the police first-hand about budgets, current successes and where improvement is needed.

Safer, Greener and Transport portfolio holder Councillor Sam Kane said “It was so encouraging to see residents engaging with the Commissioner. The Epping Forest District has a strong sense of community which is demonstrated by the way we tackle these issues together, working with the police not against them.

“Our safer community’s team work closely with the Police and other agencies helping find actions to address your concerns. I look forward to seeing our working relationship grow, working with the Police, the Commissioner and our residents to keep our community safe”

Find out more about the PFCC

 

Be on your guard against Council Tax scams

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Community, Council tax, Crime and safety, Epping, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home, Your money

Residents are warned to be on their guard against a recent Council Tax scam.

Council tax scam warning

Cold caller scam

We have been made aware of a cold call scam in which a resident received a call from a person that falsely presented themselves as an employee of a company called GFM, claiming they can the resident a Council Tax refund of £5,000 for an upfront cost of £150.

This is a scam.

GFM are a legitimate Marketing company based in Colchester and are not responsible for any of these calls. GFM are now aware that they are being impersonated.

Be alert

Be mindful of cold callers that contact you, especially if they ask for money up front to get a refund or cash back and be especially vigilant if you have vulnerable relatives, friends or acquaintances.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Report it

If you are unsure whether a call is genuine, please report them to Action Fraud

  • Call the Action Fraud team on 0300 123 2040

Paying for policing, the PFCC needs #yourviews

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Community, Consultation, Council tax, Crime and safety, Democracy, Emergencies, Epping, Loughton, Media, Older people, Ongar, Out and about, Regulations, Residents, Uncategorized, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Do you want to increase the levels of policing in Essex? Willing to pay more Council tax to do so? The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex (PFCC) want your views.

Police car

Roger Hirst, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex is asking Essex residents to fill in an online survey to gauge whether or not residents would be happy to pay more, so more resources can be invested in policing across the county.

Essex Police’s Funding comes from two sources

  • Central Government
  • Local Council Tax

Essex Police receives the lowest funding per resident of any police force in the country and has the sixth lowest council tax for policing.

Have your say

The survey will be live from 01.00 am Monday 6 November to 00.00am on Sunday 19 November.

The PFCC want you to join in the conversation on social media by using the #yourviews.

Providing the best service possible

PFCC Mr Hirst said: “I want to provide the best service possible for the people of Essex and increasing investment will help me deliver this. I’m not expecting any increase in central Government funding for this year but I can raise the police precept. However, before I make that decision I want to know what the views of the public are so I can take them into account.”

He added: “At every public meeting I attend I hear that the residents want more police on the streets and whilst both Essex Police and I are doing everything we can to make that happen, we don’t have the money or resources to deliver it in the best way that we want to. The demand on the police service is rising. New crime types are emerging and existing crime is rising in its complexity, this is against a backdrop of an unprecedented shift in the national security environment. My question to the public is this – do they want to pay more for those extra resources?”

Council Tax Support Scheme consultation extended

Written on . Posted in Benefits, Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Consultation, Council tax, Democracy, Epping, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home, Your money

The Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme consultation has been extended, due to a problem with a link that was published on social media. You are now able to make comments until midnight on Wednesday 25 October 2017.

We’re asking for your views on the future of our Local Council Tax Reduction scheme (LCTS) to see whether any changes should be made. It’s important we get the views of our residents as it could affect the amount of Council Tax you pay, or the services you receive.

Council Tax Reduction Scheme consultation

Government grant

“The Government gives us a grant to pay Local Council Tax Support which is reducing each year” explains Finance Portfolio Holder Councillor Gagan Mohindra, “if we spend more than the grant, we have to decide how we pay for the excess.”

Making changes

“This year, in addition to looking at how the scheme is funded, we are deciding whether changes should be made to reduce the number of different Council Tax bills that people get when they receive Universal Credit, and whether Bereavement Support Payments should be disregarded. There are also changes to the way that we treat decisions by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).”

Generate savings

Councillor Mohindra said: “We’ve looked carefully at the LCTS scheme and are aiming to providing a fair level of support to those residents on a low income as well as identifying potential changes which would generate savings for the council.

We will of course continue to fully fund support for those who suffer exceptional hardship, and none of the changes would make a drastic change to the amount of council tax individuals would pay.”

Let us know what you think

“Let us know what you think on this important issue” Councillor Mohindra asked residents. “ It takes just 10 minutes to complete the online questionnaire which runs until midnight on Wednesday 25 October 2017.

Any recommendations from this consultation will be considered by Full Council later in the year, with a view to bringing in changes from April 2018.”

Make a detailed reply or comments

If you want to make a detailed reply or comments, email benefits@eppingforestdc.gov.uk and enter ‘consultation’ in the subject heading. If you don’t have access to a computer, you can get a paper copy from the Benefits Division at the Civic Offices.

We cannot respond individually to each response.

Do you know a cheat in your street?

Written on . Posted in Business, Business rates, Community, Council tax, Housing, Media, Out and about, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home, Your money

“If you know or suspect someone is committing fraud you should report them straight away” urges Finance Portfolio Holder Councillor Gagan Mohindra.

Fraud affects everyone. Money stolen by housing tenancy fraud, council tax fraud or business rates fraud is depriving our public services of the vital resources they need.”

Know a cheat in your street?

Report someone you think is committing fraud

Don’t let them get away with it. You can report it anonymously. You don’t have to give your name or contact details unless you want to.

Fraudsters are cheating us all

Housing tenancy fraud – someone who has committed a social housing fraud by

  • illegally sub-letting
  • not living in the property and leaving it empty
  • making a fraudulent Right to Buy application
  • taking (or making) a payment for a mutual exchange
  • living in a property after the tenant has died, where they had no right to succeed
  • giving false or misleading information to get the tenancy

Council Tax fraud – someone who gets a Council Tax discount by falsely

  • stating the property is empty
  • claiming they live alone
  • claiming they are a student
  • claiming Council Tax Support falsely by doing undeclared work or having capital/property in excess of the limit

Business rates fraud – a person or business liable for Business Rates who falsely

  • claims an exemption or relief they are not entitled to

Not a victimless crime

Cllr Mohindra said: “Fraud is not a victimless crime. Don’t think that reporting benefit fraud is wrong or underhand. If a fraudster commits fraud in the Epping Forest district we will use the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to seize and confiscate their assets.”

We need your help

“We constantly look for fraud but no matter how hard we try, we cannot do it alone – we need your help” said Councillor Mohindra.

“Please tell us if you suspect someone is committing fraud by filling in our online form or by calling our fraud investigation team on 01992 564444.”

Register for new online self-service

Written on . Posted in Benefits, Buckhurst Hill, Business, Business rates, Chigwell, Community, Council tax, Epping, Loughton, Media, Ongar, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

You can now manage your Council Tax and Business Rates accounts online.

Self serve online
 

Self-service is quick and easy 

By registering today you can:

  • Instantly view your account
  • Check payments and other transactions
  • Pay your bill
  • Sign up for Direct Debit

You can also sign-up to receive electronic bills in the future instead of receiving them by post and be able to view all notices that have been previously sent to you.

Manage your finances at a time that suits you

The service is secure, quick and easy to use allowing you to manage your account 24/7 at a time that suits you and your business needs.

Finance Portfolio Holder Councillor Mohindra said: “We are constantly looking at ways to improve our services and want to make dealing with the council more flexible and convenient for you. By registering online residents can now manage both Council Tax and Business Rates any time of the day 7 days a week. Don’t delay, manage your finances at a time that suits you and register today.”

 

Full Council 21 February 2017

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Community, Council tax, Councillors, Democracy, Media, Meetings, Out and about, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your money

A council meeting dominated by budgets and finances took time out to remember one of its finest public servants and wish another a speedy recovery from illness.

Ron Barnes OBE

Council Chairman Jeane Lea invited councillors and staff to join her in a minute’s silence as Epping Forest District Council remembered former chairman Ron Barnes OBE. Tributes were led by Council Leader Chris Whitbread who remembered Ron as a most decent man as well as an excellent councillor.

Councillor Liz Webster said he was admired by all while Councillor Richard Morgan recalled Ron as a great friend to everyone and offered the council’s condolences to his wife Felicity. Councillor Caroline Pond spoke of the opening of Barnes Court in Cripsey Avenue, named after Ron Barnes and the anecdotes of his many friends.

Councillor Brian Surtees reminded colleagues of his strength of character and his ability to endure, as a young man on the Atlantic convoys but also towards the end of his life as illness took hold.

Ron Barnes represented the people of Ongar through the Shelley ward from 1979 to 2003.

Councillor Tony Boyce

Councillors were delighted to learn of the continuing recovery of Councillor Tony Boyce who was taken ill in October. Councillors agreed unanimously to grant an extension to his leave of absence until August 2017.

Epping Forest Youth Council

Among the announcements by Councillor Jeane Lea was a recommendation of fellow councillors to follow the example of the district’s youth council currently supporting the MiLife mental health initiative.

Budget 2017/18

Epping Forest District councillors confirmed Cabinet recommendations not to increase the council’s share of Council Tax. Setting another low budget, councillors extended the freeze on Council Tax for a 7th year.

Councillors then noted the Council Tax precepts for Essex County Council, Essex Police, Essex Fire and Rescue and local town and parish councils for 2017/18. Residents will pay the new rates from April.

Good outcomes

Safer Greener and Transport Portfolio Holder Gary Waller reported with satisfaction on excellent progress in tackling anti-social behaviour in Epping. He reported on the joint work with Essex Police using CCTV images of young people to persuade their parents to take action.

He was also happy to report plans for electric vehicle charging points at the new Epping Forest Shopping Park.

Councillor Chris Whitbread was also happy to report progress following the purchase of former St John’s Road school site in Epping as well as good news on the council’s latest treasury management financial strategy reports.

Council Tax set for 2017/18

Written on . Posted in Business, Business rates, Community, Council tax, Councillors, Democracy, Leader, Local business, Media, Older people, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home, Your money

Despite a freeze at Epping Forest District Council, most residents will pay more Council Tax from April.

Some town and parish councils are also freezing or lowering their Council Tax but Essex County Council, Essex Police, Essex Fire and Rescue and many local town and parish councils are putting their share of Council Tax up.

Council Tax agreed

Councillors at the meeting of Epping Forest District Council on Tuesday 21 February agreed the new Council Tax for 2017/18.

Epping Forest District is the local collection authority. Council Leader, Councillor Chris Whitbread said: “I am delighted we have managed to freeze our own share of the Council Tax for the seventh year running. Looking forward it is our ambition to remain a low-tax council giving our residents best possible value for money. I am sorry that bills have gone up overall. I have sympathy for the Police and Crime Commissioner and those councils which have to increase their budgets. I congratulate those town and parish councils like us that have also been able to freeze or even lower their part of the bill.”

“Epping Forest District Council has set another remarkably good budget. Local government finance is incredibly confusing but I hope residents will understand the difference between the Council Tax we collect and the Council Tax we keep.”

Good news budget and 0% increase

Councillor Whitbread covered the main items of the budget including capital investment of up to £125 million over the next 5 years. He said: “We are investing in capital to generate revenue. There is good news everywhere in this budget, good judgement, protection for front line services and good news for our residents.”

The budget found favour with cross party support throughout the Council Chamber.

Rent reductions

Rent paid by thousands of Epping Forest District Council tenants is also set to reduce by one percent in line with national guidelines. The average rent now stands at £96.17 per week.

Invest to Save

Details of the district council budget were set before Cabinet previously – Cabinet 2 February 2017.

Councillor Whitbread said: “We are working better and we are working smarter. Year on year we have become a tighter ship, investing in people, processes and policies to produce the most efficient council we can – a council fit for the future, delivering frontline services our residents need at prices we can afford.”