Council tax bills go up 33p a week for Clevedon people

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By Carol_Deacon | Wednesday, February 20, 2013, 11:48

Despite a much reduced budget North Somerset Council has found an extra £1 million plus to mend roads and fix flood defences in the next financial year.

But it intends to shed a further 300 jobs in the next 12 months to help balance the books.

 The decision to ratify a council tax rise of 1.5 per cent in the year ahead was made by a full council meeting this week.

This equates to 33p a week for an average Band D property with an annual bill of £1,164.88 - a rise of £16.95.

Councillors meet on Tuesday evening to approve the budget for 2013-14 of £158.427 million,  which includes cuts of £9.7 million.

North Somerset Council leader Nigel Ashton, who is a Conservative councillor representing the Gordano ward, said: "Challenging finances are not new to us.  

"We are a low-funded and low-spending authority and have successfully dealt with previous budget reductions. 

"However, we have never faced such challenging times as now, and they will be with us for years. 

"The scale of change will be significant and the council will look, feel and operate very differently in the future. 

"Despite this, our vision and ambitions remain the same. 

"We are committed to providing clear leadership, quality services and an affordable council tax.

"We have ambitious plans for improving North Somerset and are committed to them. 

"But the ways we achieve those plans will change, and will inevitably have an impact on residents, communities, partner organisations and our own staff. 

"We need to look at everything we do and all the services we provide and it is likely that the level of savings required will mean that some current services may need to be stopped, with reduced funding being focused on critical services and key priorities we identify."

Cllr Ashton added that government grant funding had been reduced by 6.3 per cent for 2013-14 but that the council is still waiting for confirmation of the final settlement.

He said that it is because of unfair funding that the decision to raise council tax has had to be taken. 

Cllr  Ashton added: "We have considered the proposals put forward in the alternative budgets by opposition groups, each of which suggested a two per centtax rise, and we have also examined the freeze grant the government is offering. 

"However the numbers just don't add up, which is why, with some regret we are making this increase."

The council has allocated an additional £1.26m for road maintenance and flooding issues in 2013-14.

Details of alternative budgets put forward by opposition councillors can be read by clicking HERE.



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