Rother Council hoping to freeze Council Tax for the fourth year running

THERE will be no increase in the amount residents pay for services provided by Rother District Council, if cabinet proposals get the go ahead.

At a meeting on Monday, Cabinet members proposed a budget that would see Council Tax frozen for the fourth year running.

Council leader Cllr Carl Maynard said: “At a time when families are struggling to make ends meet, we felt it was important not to add to their burden by increasing Rother District Council’s share of the Council Tax.

“We know residents are facing hikes in their energy bills and other living costs and we felt we should do our bit by keeping our precept at £161.19 a year for a Band D property – by some margin the lowest council tax precept in the area.”

When they met on Monday, cabinet members were presented with four options including a Council Tax freeze or a rise of one per cent, 1.45 per cent or 1.95 per cent.

Full council will be asked to ratify the proposals put forward by cabinet which includes a 2014/15 budget of £11.98million and agree to the council’s reserves being used to lessen the impact of cuts to frontline services.

Savings will have to be made to balance the books at Rother as the authority expects Government funding to have dropped by around £2.8million between 2010/11 and 20/15/16.

A total of £1million worth of savings will need to be found to meet the projected shortfall in 2015/16 and a review is set to be launched to find ways to achieve this.

Cllr Maynard said: “At Rother we believe we can find alternative ways of raising the money needed to plug the gaps caused by cuts.

“It is Cabinet’s view that there are opportunities to increase our revenue by encouraging growth in local business, as we have with initiatives such as the employment site in Elva Way and the work of the WARR Partnership in rural areas.

“The council has shown its ongoing commitment to this approach in the recent grant of outline planning permission for the new Enterprise Park in North East Bexhill.”

Cllr Maynard added: “I would like to say thank you to the prudent efforts of officers and members past and present for enabling us to continue to keep our share of the council tax down.”

The full council will make the final decision on the proposals on February 24.