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Christchurch Borough Council is freezing the rate of Council Tax for the second year running.
In keeping with decisions made by Dorset County Council, Dorset Police and Dorset Fire & Rescue, the Borough Council resolved at its Council meeting to keep the Council Tax at the same rate as last year. This means that Christchurch Council’s part of the Band D Council Tax for 2012/13 remains at £174.58. A Band D household pays £1583.26 in total.
Residents of Burton and Hurn parishes also pay a precept to their Parish Council – for 2012/13 that amount is £11.55 for Burton and £26.36 for Hurn.
In his budget speech to Council, Cllr Mike Duckworth, Chairman of the Council’s Resources Committee, explained the impact the struggling national economy is having on Local Government and the way it is financed. On top of the cut in grants to Local Government in 2011/12 a further £143,000 has been taken off the grant to Christchurch this year making the Council more than £500,000 worse off over the last two years.
He also detailed the savings that have been made through Partnership working with East Dorset District Council and other Councils in Dorset, without which cuts or reductions to services would have had to be made.
“Due to our prudent financial planning we are able to maintain frontline services and minimise staff losses. However, I am not sure how long we will be able to keep on doing it because, in spite of our partnership working which has produced considerable savings and our robust internal challenge on both income and expenditure, the pressures are becoming more acute.
“This year the Council has developed a new Corporate Plan because, even in a difficult financial environment, there are still priorities which need to be delivered in order to maintain and improve prosperity, the environment and community well-being. We have not lost sight of these priorities and have been able to include some very modest amounts of growth to help deliver on these commitments.”
He recommended to Council a budget which protects services to the community, freezes Council Tax at 2011/12 levels and gives a commitment to deliver real future savings through on-going efficiency improvements.