Dominic Bareham, senior reporter
Friday, January 11, 2013
Council tax payers in Diss will face a 2pc increase in their council tax bill for the financial year 2013/14.
Diss Town Council agreed to the increase, equating to an extra £2.74 per year for a band D household, at a special meeting on Wednesday to agree the tax rate for the forthcoming financial year.
However, town mayor Graham Minshull said the increase was still in line with inflation and followed a 1pc rise last year when inflation was 6pc.
He said there would be no cuts in services and added the council would have enough to provide £1,000 worth of grants for local charities that were in need.
However, part of the reason for the increase, he said, was that money would need to be spent on improving the drainage system for the town’s Mere to prevent the water from overflowing and flooding nearby homes.
He added a section of the drain under the Co-Op store car park in Mere Street had collapsed, while silt and other objects had also blocked the drain making the work an urgent priority.
Mr Minshull said the problems had been caused by the design of the drain when it was first built as the first few metres were uphill, meaning silt could gather at the entrance.
“We are trying to provide a good service, but also provide the best value for money at the same time. We have trimmed bits and pieces off the budget and over the last four or five years we have kept pace with inflation and not increased the council tax above inflation in a similar way to if you were running a business,” Mr Minshull said.
Town clerk Deborah Sarson said setting the tax rate had been made more complex this year by changes introduced by the government to the way it pays local councils for providing council tax.
Changes to council tax benefits meant the overall tax base had been reduced and tax payers had to make up the shortfall, while the town council has also received financial help from South Norfolk Council.