Borough council takes it to the max for tax rise

Rugby Town Hall. NNL-170903-123319001
Rugby Town Hall. NNL-170903-123319001
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Rugby Borough Council’s share of the council tax will be going up by the maximum possible before it would need to call a referendum.

At a full council meeting last Tuesday, February 28, councillors approved the 2017-18 budget, which means the borough’s share will rise by £5 on Band D.

Government guidelines say borough and district councils can increase their share by a maximum of 2% or £5 at Band D, whichever is the greater, before a referendum must be held.

The decision comes against a background of Rugby Borough Council battling cuts in funding from central government.

The overall council tax bill includes payments to town or parish councils as appropriate, to the police and the lion’s share – 77 per cent – to the county council.

The budget was put forward by the ruling Conservative group and though Labour and Lib Dems abstained, its package of measures was passed.

The increase is only the second rise in the borough council’s share of council tax in eight years.

And the council said the rise will ensure that no council services are cut in the coming financial year.

Leader of the council Cllr Michael Stokes told the meeting: “As a Conservative I hold Conservative values, but my job as leader of this council is not to defend the decisions of our Government, but to do the best with what we have got for this council and the people of Rugby.

“To that end, we must accept the difficult challenges that have been given to us by central government and there’s no doubt that as a district council, those challenges are significant.”

Following on from the recent decision to introduce green bin charges, Cllr Stokes said having asked residents to do their bit the council had to do its bit.

He said they would put forward a proposal in April for a boundary review to cut the cost of borough elections by having them every four years rather than having the council elected in thirds – and potentially reducing the number of councillors.

And he added they would continue to look at the council’s assets, including the town hall, would talk to other local authorities about more effective working and consider options like a community lottery.

He added: “We have continued to provide our services efficiently and have a programme in place to continue with this over the forthcoming years.

“No-one welcomes a tax rise, but I hope that residents will agree that at less than eight pence in every pound of council tax collected, Rugby Borough Council offers exceptional value for money.”

Council tax bills are being sent out this week.