Council tax hike of 3.95 per cent for Monmouthshire and Torfaen
7:10am Wednesday 12th February 2014 in Pontypool news
COUNCIL tax could rise by 3.95 per cent for two areas in Gwent, as Monmouthshire cabinet are presented with their budget report this afternoon after proposals were agreed by Torfaen cabinet members yesterday.
Yesterday, Torfaen council agreed proposals meaning rates are likely to rise by £39.81 a year for Band D households.
The increase is expected to raise around £1.3 million in revenue, which would contribute towards radical plans to save the authority £11.2 million from its 2014/15 budget.
It is part of a larger plan to save £40 million over the next four years.
Assistant chief executive officer Nigel Aurelius, who presented the final budget report to cabinet said it was an “extremely difficult final funding settlement”.
He said while council tax would rise – and be set at £1,047.69 for Band D properties – it was a budget which protected schools, social care, and employment as far as possible.
Councillor Anthony Hunt, the executive member for resources, said: “This £1.3million is a long way short of the £11 million pressures we have on us.
“Without it another £1.3million of cuts would be needed. It would mean significant job losses and loss of services.
“We recognise the importance of keeping tax levels low for hard-hit residents but this is a case of the least worst scenario.”
The cabinet agreed to safeguard council tax support for pensioners for one more year, as part of recommendations. Full council will vote on the recommended proposals on March 4.
A report being presented to Monmouthshire’s cabinet today says a 3.95 per cent increase in council tax across four years, along with £1.539 million of reserve funding, would be sufficient in reducing the council’s £664,000 gap in their budget.
In December, the council still had to find £1.094 million to bridge a total deficit of £9.3 million in its budget.
Cllr Phil Murphy, cabinet member with responsibility for finance, said: “Our priority has been to see continued investment in things that matter to the people of Monmouthshire."
The report proposes to cut £175,000 to the cultural and tourism services department by the end of 2014/15, £94,000 by 2015/16 and £65,000 by 2016/17. It suggests tourist information centres are moved into town museums to reduce staffing and premises costs.
Other money saving plans include increasing the price of school meals, reducing street sweepers and dimming street lights.