Council confirms district tax freeze

No rise this year, but ‘difficult decisions’ made to plug �1.4million gap in budget.

NORTH Devon Council has rubber stamped a freeze on its share of council tax for 2012-13.

The decision was approved at a meeting of full council on Wednesday night.

Members also confirmed that there will be no increase in most of the council’s other charges, such as car parking charges, for the forthcoming financial year.

Cllr Brian Greenslade said the council had managed to maintain a healthy set of balances and reserves with no expected detrimental impact on services, or any compulsory redundancies

But he added that ‘difficult decisions’ had been made to plug a �1.4million gap in the budget.

Mr Greenslade, said: “However, I am pleased to report that, despite facing grant cutbacks from central government, we are able to freeze North Devon Council’s share of the council tax.

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“I hope this will be welcome news for residents in the district, who like everyone else, are having to make their money stretch that little bit further.”

Mr Greenslade said that situation with the capital programme was not as positive, with only �1.6m of funding available for �10.7m of projects in the programme.

He said: “We are able to deliver capital projects of over �1m in value for 2012/13 without resorting to borrowing but achieving further capital receipts will allow us to do more.

“However we will have to reduce other costs where ever we can and I have made clear that substantial grant payments by the council to other bodies cannot continue at the current levels.”

He said part of the answer could be found in delivering services with partners like Torridge District Council and the private sector, as well as organisational improvements. Compulsory redundancies would be a last resort in terms of reducing the revenue budget to meet further reductions in Government grant.

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From every pound collected as council tax, North Devon Council receives around 10p. The authority also collects council tax on behalf of Devon County Council, Devon and Cornwall Police Authority, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority, and town and parish councils.

A more detailed explanation of the breakdown will be delivered to council tax payers with their bills, which are due to be sent out next month.

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