Stevenage council freezes tax precept
STEVENAGE Borough Council (SBC) will freeze its council tax precept for the coming financial year, but will make job cuts in a bid to balance its books. SBC set its budget for 2010/11 at a meeting last night (Wednesday) and has promised no cuts to frontli
STEVENAGE Borough Council (SBC) will freeze its council tax precept for the coming financial year, but will make job cuts in a bid to balance its books.
SBC set its budget for 2010/11 at a meeting last night (Wednesday) and has promised no cuts to frontline services.
Twenty posts at the council will be axed, resulting in four compulsory redundancies.
This is the first time since 2000/01 that SBC has frozen its council tax precept.
Cllr John Gardner, deputy leader of SBC, said: "Our decision not to increase council tax this year is aimed at supporting our residents through the difficult economic climate.
"We are committed to maintaining our services and have worked hard to ensure we can do this with no extra costs for Stevenage people."
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Sharon Taylor, leader of SBC, added: "I'm really happy we are not putting an additional burden on people at this difficult time."
SBC has also decided not to increase members' allowances.
Since 2007/08 SBC has delivered over �5.9 million of efficiency savings, and Cllr Taylor said: "There's always going to be a need for savings. We are never going to get out of that, not for the next three years at least."
For every pound of council tax paid, Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) gets 77p, Hertfordshire Police Authority gets 10p and Stevenage Borough Council gets 13p.
With both SBC and HCC freezing their precepts, and the police raising its by 3.5 per cent, the average council tax increase for Stevenage households is 0.35 per cent.
Stuart Nagler, chair of Hertfordshire Police Authority, said: "Even with an increase of 3.5 per cent in council tax and the use of �630,000 from reserves, we will still have to make cuts."
He said about 100 posts are expected to be lost over the course of the next year.
The total council tax bill for a Band D property in Stevenage for 2010/11 will be �1,455.17.
Central Bedfordshire Council will set its council tax precept tonight (Thursday).
Bedfordshire Police Authority's precept will increase by three per cent - equivalent to �4.21 a year for a Band D property.
North Herts District Council agreed a council tax increase of 1.5 per cent earlier this month.
Terry Hone, portfolio holder for finance, said the increase was necessary to help make up a budgetary shortfall of more than �1m in the coming financial year, rising to nearly �2m the following year.