Council Tax freeze was only realistic option

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A FREEZE in council tax was the only realistic option according to a South Northants Council opposition member.

However Liberal Democrat Councillor Martin Johns wonders if the freeze disguises over spending in the past.

Last week SNC launched a consultation on the draft budget for 2012-13. SNC has made savings of £628,000 over the last year through it shared management agreement with Cherwell District Council. On top of a wage freeze for its staff SNC has also held councillor’s expenses to 2009 levels. Council Tax for an band D property remains at £170.37 or £3.27 per week.

Mr Johns, who is also Towester’s Mayor said: “In the current economic climate a freeze is realistically the only option for most local authorities. We’ve done the same at Towcester Town Council. The hope at SNC is the efficiency savings mean services can be maintained at their existing standard. The interesting thing is, the budget has gone down in recent times, but on the other hand why was it so high?”

In his budget delivery speech Conservative cabinet member Ian McCord said the cost of running the council has fallen from £1m a month to £800,000 in two years and that this budget reduce the cost by a further 4 per cent.

Mr McCord said the new budget will improve reviews of conservation areas and included funds for parish councils to start preparing for changes bought about by the Localism Bill.

Mr McCord said SNC was debt free, had good reserves and was: “living within its means”.