District prepares for 4pc tax hike
RESIDENTS in North Norfolk look set to pay an extra £5 a year for their district council services next year.A 4pc rise in council tax will be recommended to councillors on Monday in a £14.
RESIDENTS in North Norfolk look set to pay an extra £5 a year for their district council services next year.
A 4pc rise in council tax will be recommended to councillors on Monday in a £14.2m budget, which includes some new services and projects but also some savings and cutbacks.
It had been hoped to peg the rise to 2.5pc, but a lower-than-expected handout from central government meant officers had to return to their calculators, and councillors tackle some tough decisions.
The £8.7m government grant included an increase of 1.1pc, the lowest in Norfolk, when the council was hoping for 2.5pc - leaving it £120,000 worse off than it expected.
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Cabinet member for resources Peter Moore said it had resulted in some “horrid” decisions, adding: “We have had to say to councillors who have had projects close to their hearts that we cannot do them.”
The double whammy of a cut in grant help, and imposition of services - such as new standards board work - without
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extra funding, was unfair to local people who always blamed the council whose name was at the top of their council tax demand when it was not its fault.
Cutbacks included dropping plans for a youth worker and sports development officer, along with some conservation management work.
Car parking fees, which bring in £1.7m a year, are being pegged at the standard 60p an hour, but there is a 10pc increase in season tickets and a 50p rise to £4.50 for all day tickets.
New items that had been squeezed into the budget included investment in the garden waste collection as it geared up to handle food too, and a new officer charged with finding new pots of European funding.
The proposed council tax increase for the district's 50,000 households takes a Band D house to £130.68, an increase of £5.04, which Mr Moore pointed out was only 9p a week.
Major capital spending of £757,000 is partly funded by a planned £400,000 sell-off of surplus land.
Schemes include a car park ticket machine pilot scheme to see if a cash-free system is possible, fencing for cliff top car parks, upgrades of toilets at Holt, Mundesley and Sea Palling, and help towards a new industrial enterprise centre at North Walsham.
A final decision on the council tax level and budget will be made by the full council on February 20.