RESIDENTS in the Chichester district pay one of the lowest council tax rates in Sussex.
A 1.9 per cent increase on Chichester District Council’s share of the tax was approved on Tuesday (March 4).
But cabinet member for finance Tony Dignum said residents were still paying less than those in neighbouring authorities.
He said: “Currently Chichester is the lowest billing authority in the county. Chichester has, and will still have, among the lowest rates of council tax in all the district and borough councils across the whole of Sussex.”
CDC’s share of the council tax will increase by £2.62 a year for an average taxpayer.
He said it was with ‘regret’ that the council must increase the council tax rate, but it would protect council-run services in the face of central government cuts.
The council will be hit with a 12.9 per cent cut in government funding in the next financial year, with a further 15.2 per cent expected in 2015/16.
But Cllr Dignum believed the council tax rise would be enough to maintain services in the council.
The rise will generate an extra £130,000 for the council per year – compared to the £70,000 the council would have received from the government if it froze the tax.
He said: “This budget protects frontline services, it protects the most needy including those of working age on council tax support, it provides for timely asset replacement and it protects the New Homes Bonus for community use,” he said.
“It also includes a commitment to seek further savings in providing our services.
“It includes a small increase in council tax of just 5p a week which contributed to keeping our finances strong despite the uncertain future of government funding.”
Chichester District Council’s share of the council tax bill – £140.81 a year for a band D taxpayer, goes towards a number of services.
These include waste and recycling collection, museums, leisure centres, coastal protection and public toilets, to name a few.
The council voted unanimously to approve the rise of 1.9 per cent.
n See our Behind the Headlines feature in this week’s Observer (March 6) for a round-up of council tax bills across the district.