Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Council tax increase to pay for services

COUNCIL taxpayers in Henley are to pay more for the services provided by the town council.

COUNCIL taxpayers in Henley are to pay more for the services provided by the town council.

The council has agreed to increase its share by almost two per cent.

From April 1, a typical band D householder will pay £85.16 a year, a rise of £1.65. The demand is less than in other towns in South Oxfordshire.

Despite a one per cent increase in the Mayor’s allowance in line with staff salary increases, the council’s precept is £1,000 less than last year at £467,700.

In next year’s budget, the council has earmarked £100,000 from its reserves towards the costs of refurbishing the toilets at Mill Meadows and £50,000 towards possible costs in producing a neighbourhood plan.

Councillor Ian Reissmann, who chairs the finance, strategy and management committee, welcomed the budget.

He said: “I am really pleased that we have been able to increase our grants budget to small organisations.

“We had the opportunity to do that after we had to cut it a few years ago but this has been our ambition and in these times they are all the more important.”

Meanwhile, Thames Valley Police has also announced a two per cent rise in its share of council tax. Its precept, which was announced by Anthony Stansfeld, the new police and crime commissioner, will see a £3.08 a year increase for a band D household.

The extra money will be used to recruit nine more officers and redeploy 34 to key roles in policing and child protection.

Mr Stansfeld said: “This increase is less than a pint of beer or less than a penny a day but it allows us to keep our frontline secure. We are not just maintaining police numbers, we are actually increasing them.”

The force’s forthcoming budget is £398million and it is two years into a programme to cut £70million by 2017.

Overall, residents in Henley and South Oxfordshire will pay more in council tax this year.

The charge will rise between one and two per cent, meaning people living in a typical band D property will be charged about £20 more.

Oxfordshire County Council is planning to raise its share of council tax by 1.99 per cent, meaning the average rate will increase by about £23 to £1,185.

However, South Oxfordshire District Council is to reduce its share of the tax by 2.5 per cent, reducing the average bill by about £3.

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