March 12 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Council tax for people living in Norwich is set to go up, after city councillors agreed a 1.95pc increase in its share of the bills.
The full council tonight agreed the hike, proposed by the controlling Labour group at City Hall, after a two-and-a-half hour long meeting.
The council agreed the increase, along with cuts and savings of £3.3m, as part of a £19.3m budget for 2014/15.
The increase will see those living in a Band B home in the city paying an extra £3.49 a year (an increase from £179.10 a year to £182.59) to the city council.
Those living in a Band D home will pay £230.27, a £4.49 increase.
The increase will net the authority an extra £150,000.
Deputy leader Alan Waters said the budget was “about a careful use of resources” and that reserves would be used to “smooth” cuts of £10m over the next five years.
Green councillor Denise Carlo questioned the inclusion of £9.7m on a “strategic asset investment” which is not in the public domain, but Mr Waters said the details had to remain confidential.
Among the cuts, savings and ways to save money are a “gradual increase” in cemetery fees and charges for allotments, charging for replacing wheelie bins, buying private businesses to generate money and finding ways to bring in more money at St Andrew’s Hall and the Norman Centre.
The opposition Green Party put forward an amendment to the budget, which was lost.
It included putting £47,500 into the budget to reinstate tree planting outside conservation areas by reducing the grass cutting budget.
It also included axing proposals to spend £7m on a new car park at Rose Lane and a £25,000 grant for a general advice service, with Green councillor Lucy Galvin criticising the council for changing the way it funds the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.
The Liberal Democrats also tabled an amendment which would have seen a council tax freeze and reductions to councillor allowances, which was also defeated.
Lib Dem leader James Wright said: “In my opinion, council tax remains an unfair and regressive tax, so even minor increases should not be considered if they can be avoided.”
Council tax bills for people in Norwich are split between the city council, the county council and the police. Norfolk County Council agreed to freeze its share when it set its budget on Monday, while Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Bett wants to increase the police precept by 1.97pc.
Broadland District Council will meet on Thursday and is likely to freeze its share of the council tax, while South Norfolk Council is also planning a freeze.
• Do you think the city council is right to increase its share of the council tax? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.