Council tax rises for some villagers near Leamington and Warwick

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The rise is among the measures to boost Stratford District Council's finances after its reserves have been halved by Covid

Councillors have agreed to raise Stratford District Council’s portion of council tax by £5 on an average band D property from the beginning of April.

The decision was taken at yesterday's (Monday's) full council meeting when the increase was one of three measures earmarked to boost the town hall coffers.

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In outlining the planned budget Cllr Trevor Harvey (Con, Shipston North), portfolio holder for finance and assets, explained that the council’s reserves had been halved in a single year due to Covid-19

Councillors have agreed to raise Stratford District Council’s portion of council tax by £5 on an average band D property from the beginning of AprilCouncillors have agreed to raise Stratford District Council’s portion of council tax by £5 on an average band D property from the beginning of April
Councillors have agreed to raise Stratford District Council’s portion of council tax by £5 on an average band D property from the beginning of April

He added: “The budget proposals before council today do two things. First they protect the council’s ability to provide its residents with a range and quality of services they currently enjoy for the forthcoming financial year.

Secondly, despite the need for some painful decisions in the subsequent four years, the proposed budget demonstrates that the minimum level of reserves can be maintained although they will decline.”

Cllr Harvey went on to explain that cost-cutting measures had included the sharing of key positions with Warwick District Council while other vacancies remained unfilled.

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But he added: “Inevitably, however, some of the strain will need to fall on the residents of the district. This will principally be in three ways - by increasing by £5 the level of council tax on a band D property, the introduction of the results of a review on car parking charges by the level of inflation, and by the implementation of the decision taken last year - and subsequently postponed for a year - to activate the garden waste scheme.”

Earlier in the meeting, council leader Cllr Tony Jefferson (Con, Welcombe) explained: “The long-term soundness of the council’s financial position is the bedrock of its ability to meet our residents’ expectations. The budget proposals before us are designed to do just that.”

The budget was approved but a Liberal Democrat amendment outlining their budget proposal was voted down.

Group leader Cllr Susan Juned (Lib Dem, Alcester Town) said: “Our budget is based upon two things which we think are absolutely crucial going forward.

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“First we need to ensure that there is proper economic recovery from Covid-19. We need to do a great deal more work in improving our town centres with economic development expertise - making sure we are able to bid for government funding.

“The other element is using a sum of money that is already ring fenced in the climate change fund. We want to make sure that communities are fully involved in finding solutions - that we are able to harness the imagination that is undoubtedly there. We want to be harnessing the energy of our communities.”

The £5 increase will mean residents will pay an extra 3.5 per cent with the average annual bill for a band D property - including other precepts - coming in at £2,000.76.

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