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By Tristan Harris Thursday 27 February 2014 Updated: 04/03 00:47
BROMSGROVE District Council’s portion of council tax will increase by 1.9 per cent after the move was given the go ahead on Wednesday (February 26).
The change, rubber stamped at the full council meeting, will now mean that those living in a band D house in an unparished area will pay £1,516.08 per year.
Of that, £200.24 will go to Bromsgrove District Council and those in parished areas will have to pay an extra £21.26.
The named vote followed the unveiling of the budget for 2014/15 and 2016/17.
Spending included £38,000 for a town centre officer, £6,000 to cover the cost of offering free parking during Small Business Saturday and £150,000 for an Arts and Cultural Programme. That would see arts and cultural events supported to improve the economy and footfall in the town centre. It will be a six-year programme, with £25,000 allocated each year.
Among the ‘unavoidable revenue pressures’ were £60,000 for the reduction in Worcestershire County Council funding for the Essential Living Fund, £54,000 additional pension funding and £31,000 for the Lifeline service.
Savings to be made featured £50,000 less being spent on Worcestershire Regulatory Services, £59,000 being saved from customer services, £63,000 through transformation - renegotiating contracts for services - and £42,000 by restructuring the heads of service for finance and resources.
It was recommended the £45,000 from the Government for the impact on parish councils caused by the council tax discount scheme be distributed across the 39 councillors to spend on their local areas, whether they were parished or not.
Bromsgrove Labour leader Coun Luke Mallett criticised the plan, saying it was reliant on borrowing and revenue from the New Homes Bonus.
Bromsgrove District Council recieved £687,000 this year from the scheme and predicts it will get £950,000 from the New Homes Bonus in 1914/15 and £1.2million the year after.
But Bromsgrove District Council Leader, Coun Roger Hollingworth, defended the move and said the New Homes Bonus could be used for supporting frontline services and keeping council tax down.
Coun Mallett, who was criticised for not putting forward an alternative budget, said the Labour Group could not support the budget and the independent members also voiced their opposition to it.
Despite that, the budget was approved by a majority.
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