Councillors agree council tax freeze

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Council tax for High Peak residents is to be frozen for a third consecutive year, it was agreed by councillors last week.

The decision was made at a meeting of High Peak Borough Council last Thursday night, when the authority’s Budget and Medium-Term Financial Plan, which sets out the fees and charges for council services for 2013/14, was also approved.

Cllr Tim Norton said: “At the present time there are two main challenges facing this council and most councils.

“One of them is to provide services to the highest standards to all the residents of the High Peak. The second challenge is to achieve this with an ever-decreasing budget. The two don’t fit together.

“Going forward there are going to have to be decisions made which members will not like to make but they have to be made somewhere along the line.

“This has been a tough budget but I think it’s a fair budget and a balanced budget.”

And council leader Cllr Caitlin Bisknell added: “This is very much a steady as she goes budget.

“We are clearly facing some extremely difficult financial decisions in the year ahead.”

Cllr Emily Thrane said: “There is much to welcome in this budget, including freezing council tax.”

And welcoming the budget, Cllr John Faulkner added: “As the leader of the council said, I think this budget is refreshing and responsible.”

Councillors heard that an efficiency and rationalisation strategy previously introduced by the authority had already led to considerable financial savings and was expected to make further savings of more than £2.5 million up to 2015/16.

In agreeing the Medium-Term Financial Plan, councillors have also approved an average 3.58 per cent increase in council dwellings rents from £65.90 to £68.26 per week.

Garage rents are to increase by the same per cent, from £5.97 to £6.19 per week while sheltered housing service charges are also set to rise by 3.58 per cent.

Charges for the Carelink mobile warden service will increase by 3.58 as part of the plans.

However, charges for using the borough council’s car parks are to stay at the same level, as are the fees charged to market traders.

Charges for using borough council-owned leisure facilities, such as Buxton Swimming Pool, will rise though, with an adult swim increasing from £3.10 to £3.20 and an OAP swim rising from £2.30 to £2.35.

Members of Derbyshire Dales District Council are set to meet tonight (Thursday) to set their budget, which includes freezing council tax for Dales residents.