It's going to cost you more

PUBLISHED: 14:40 14 February 2008 | UPDATED: 15:40 11 May 2010

‘We have maintained our 
policy of limiting increases’

'We have maintained our policy of limiting increases'

COUNCIL Tax is set to INCREASE by at least 4.5 per cent. It will mean residents of a Band D property will be paying a total of more than £1,250. This sum includes North Herts District Council s share in the Council Tax which was approved on Thursday eveni

COUNCIL Tax is set to INCREASE by at least 4.5 per cent.

It will mean residents of a Band D property will be paying a total of more than £1,250.

This sum includes North Herts District Council's share in the Council Tax which was approved on Thursday evening.

The council increased its share of the Council Tax to £186.41 - a rise of £8.03 a year.

Both Herts County Council and the Herts Police ­Authority still have to decide budgets for the next 12 months from April.

It is expected, however, that the county council will decide on an increase of 4.5 per cent.

Last year the county council imposed a cost of £1.034 on a Band D property, while the share to police was £130.

The Council Tax rise in North Herts was set by the ­district in the wake of a warning from central Government that it wanted to see a rise "substantially below" ­5 per cent.

Indeed, the district council was originally thinking about an increase of 4.9 per cent to meet its costs.

But other "savings" had been achieved to avoid the wrath of the Government and it was "considered prudent" not to exceed 4.5 per cent.

Cllr Terry Hone, the council's deputy leader and portfolio holder for finance, said: "We are improving value for money for the Council Tax payer by saving costs on under-used services and targeting our money where it will provide most benefits.

"Despite another tight settlement with central Government, we have maintained our policy of limiting Council Tax increases."

The savings introduced by the district council include not filling vacancies.

Other cuts include a reduction of £30,000 in its Parish Challenge scheme, and the ending of a £3,790 grant to the Eastern Orchestral Board and £5,000 for historic building grants.

A proposal from the Liberal Democrat group to scrap plans to restructure the council's environmental health department and save £60,000-a-year was voted down.

Liberal Democrat group leader Cllr Steve Jarvis said the saving would have meant a Council Tax increase of just 3.8 per cent.

Cllr Jarvis said:?"North Herts has been increasing its Council Tax faster than the surrounding districts for several years, while cutting support for services, such as local buses."

Royston Town Council approved a 5 per cent increase in its budget at the end of last month.

The increase represented a rise in the precept of £1.40 a year on a Band D property, to £29.37 a year.

The town council has estimated running costs of almost £247,000, although there is still £205,500 available for community projects from the sale of Stamford Yard.

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