Council freezes tax bill for a third year

A pile of two pence pieces with some more coins scattered in the background.  Focus on the stack.
A pile of two pence pieces with some more coins scattered in the background. Focus on the stack.

BICESTER residents will see no increase in the district’s portion of their council tax bill for a third year running.

On Monday night, members of Cherwell District Council’s (CDC) executive agreed the annual charge for Band D homes would remain at £123.50 despite the loss of Government grant cash totalling around £1 million.

Councillor Ken Atack, CDC’s lead member for finance, said: “The amount of money we have to work with has reduced by more than a third in six years.

“Yet in three of those years we have managed to avoid tax increases while protecting, and in many cases improving, our services.

“These are very austere times and we need to cut our cloth accordingly.

That’s why we’re asking our officers to be ever more innovative in the way they work.”

The council says it faces increased costs, and will be working with a total budget of £14.6 million for the next financial year – just over £2 million less than last year.

Since 2007/8, CDC says it has managed to reduce its expenditure from £23.5 million.

The shortfall will be made up through a further review of back office roles and contracts with outside organisations, the council said.

CDC says £583,000 will be saved through joint working with South Northamptonshire Council, including a shared IT system.

Fees and charges for council services are expected to rise at the rate of inflation next year.

Bicester Town Council has increased its share of the council tax bill by just under two per cent this year.

The town’s portion for 2012/13 worked out at £99.26 for a Band D home, compared to £97.33 for a Band D home in the last financial year.

Changes included an extra £2,500 for litter and dog bins, an increase of £1,000 in the council’s training budget, and a six per cent increase in utility bills.