At a meeting of full council last night (Wednesday 22 February), Huntingdonshire District Council approved its budget for 2017/18.
The budget includes a 2% increase in Council Tax, the first increase since 2014. A 2% increase to the district council’s element of Council Tax will mean that an average Band D property will pay £135.84 a year, and represents a rise of just £2.66 per household since Council Tax was last increased in 2014. 65% of Huntingdonshire residents live in Band A, B or C properties and will therefore see an even smaller annual increase.
Executive Leader, Cllr Robin Howe, said: "Huntingdonshire District Council remains one of the lowest charging councils in the country. We have followed a robust budget-setting process and continue to deliver efficiencies whilst also improving service levels. If we are to maintain and improve frontline services to the level that our residents expect and set a balanced budget, the council has had to consider a small increase in Council Tax. Our aim is still to keep Council Tax as low as possible, and we have kept this increase to a minimum. We will continue to work hard to manage the council’s finances well as we move towards becoming self-financing by 2019/20 when the government will withdraw its central funding of local councils.
"The council’s financial outlook remains challenging, and is subject to decisions made by central government, but at the forefront of everything we do as a council is the drive to provide good value quality services for the residents of Huntingdonshire. Therefore, in our 2017/18 budget we have made minimal increases to fees and charges that are within our control, have frozen fees for users of our leisure centres and have rejected proposals to raise car parking charges following engagement with residents and businesses. At the same time we are investing in developing the local economy, allocating more than ever before to tackle homelessness and deliver affordable housing, and are putting more resources into areas such as grass cutting and maintenance of our local environment."
Despite an independent remuneration panel’s recommendation that members’ allowances be increased by 1%, district councillors have unanimously voted again not to increase allowances, which have been frozen at their current rate since 2008.
Council Tax is collected by Huntingdonshire District Council on behalf of the County Council, police, fire and the town and parish councils. The total amount collected for all services provided by Huntingdonshire District Council is currently £133.18 per year (based on a Band D property).