September 6th, 2016

Councillors agree to rubber stamp district council tax hike

Councillors agree to rubber stamp district council tax hike Councillors agree to rubber stamp district council tax hike
Updated: 3:58 pm, Mar 02, 2016

HOUSEHOLDERS will be made to dig deep after councillors agreed a hike in council tax.

Members of Stratford District Council voted to increase its portion of the bill, which amounts to around a tenth of the total, by 3.9 per cent from April and two per cent for each following year at a meeting this week.

A Lib Dem amendment, which proposed a smaller 1.9 per cent rise, was branded ‘dangerous’ by the leader of the council’s Conservative administration, Chris Saint, who said it would allow residents to pay less council tax but could lead to services being cut in future.

The Lib Dems also put forward a suggestion to budget £10,000 for a feasibility study looking at how the council could work with housing associations to help with the district’s provision of affordable housing.

But both amendments were defeated when councillors voted in favour of the original budget.

The district’s portion of an average Band D property bill will now go up by £5 to £133.05.

It is the first time in six years council tax has risen and means the services provided by the district council – including recycling and waste collection, planning, housing, and leisure services – cost £2.56 per week for a Band D household.

The council also pledged its continued support to the Community Transport Scheme, the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP and the West Midlands Combined Authority at the meeting.

And it was announced there would be funding to upgrade the council’s IT equipment while strategic budget reviews were set to be undertaken to investigate further savings.

Coun Saint said: “Continuing reductions in Government funding meant there was little option but to increase bills.

“The increase is in line with those recommended by Government and while you can never guarantee the ins and outs of our finances or the level of government support, this budget should maintain a stable financial position.

“As we continue to juggle the mix of good news to accompany the constraints on expenditure, we have kept a watchful eye on effective, efficient services.

“No-one welcomes a tax rise, but I hope residents agree at less than eight pence in every pound of council tax collected, Stratford District Council offers value for money.”

Warwickshire County Council, which accounts for the lion’s share of the total bill at around 80 per cent, recently agreed a hike of nearly four per cent, while Warwickshire Police, which accounts for the other tenth of the total, will be going up by 1.99 per cent.

Overall, it means taxpayers face around a 3.5 per cent rise in their annual bill or just over £50 for a Band D property.

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