Residents in Tendring are to face an increase of £5 a year in the share of their Council Tax bills paid to Tendring District Council (TDC).
The move comes after the Government changed its stance on what it is to allow certain authorities to charge – without triggering a referendum.
TDC had been looking to put its Council Tax bills up by 1.99 per cent – in line with a two per cent limit – but the late turnaround means it will now go up by 3.39 per cent. That will amount to £5 a year on an average Band D property.
Leader Neil Stock said the Council was being rewarded for being one of the “most economical authorities.” He said that the Council had taken a fair and balanced approach in terms of its level of Council Tax each year which had left it a victim of its own success with a low Council Tax base compared to others.
“We have done the right thing by challenging ourselves as to where we can be more efficient or where we can do things in a different way to reduce the budget, rather than simply looking to take more money from Council Tax payers each and every year,” he added.
Cllr Stock told a meeting of the Full Council last night that the Government had only announced the change the previous evening. The £5 rise will produce an extra £93,000 of income for the Council at a time when it has to find significant savings due to cuts in Government grant over recent years. That grant has reduced by £4.1 million since 2013/14 – a drop of 60 per cent – and there is more to come. There is to be a further reduction of £900,000 in 2017/18; then £600,000 in 2018/19 and another £650,000 in 2019/20.
“That would leave us with just over £400,000 of Government funding by 2019/20 – quite a stark contrast to the £6.7 million we received just three years ago,” added Cllr Stock. “There will undoubtedly be further cuts to existing services as we deal with the severity of Government taking away our income and we will have to face up to the responsibility of those decisions as and when they emerge.”
The budget was passed with 55 votes in favour and two against.
News from Tendring District Council