West Dorset authority limits council tax rise to 'no more than one per cent'

West Dorset District Council is working towards keeping council tax bills as low as possible to help people cope during the recession.

West Dorset District Council is working towards keeping council tax bills as low as possible to help people cope during the recession.

The Executive Committee has this week recommended a council tax rise of no more than one per cent for 2010/11. This is a reduction compared to the original strategy of increasing council tax by no more than 2.5 per cent in 2010 and 2011.

If the committee's recommendation is approved by full council on 23 February 2010, the current charges of �123.57 for a Band D property would increase by �1.24 to �124.81.

West Dorset District Council Leader Robert Gould said the authority wants to do all it can to keep increases in council tax and service charges to a minimum.

For example, all charges in West Dorset District Council car parks are to be frozen next year after the Executive Committee approved proposals for there to be no increase in the price of car park charges and permits in 2010/2011.

Cllr Gould said: "The council is aware that many residents, such as older people on fixed incomes, are worried about inflation-busting bills landing on their doorstep during this recession.

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"So given the current financial climate, in the budget we are proposing for 2010/11, we want to keep our council tax as low as possible.

"The 2010/11 budget has two aims - to keep council tax and service charge increases as low as possible, while still giving the council the capacity to respond to future changes to the level of grant funding."

It is not known what level of Government grant the council will receive from 2011 onwards. Currently, the revenue support grant is �8.2 million, but significant cuts of up to 25 per cent are expected.

The Executive will meet again on 2 February and the final decision will be made at full council on 23 February.

West Dorset District Council collects the whole council tax bill from local people, but only keeps around eight per cent of the total. The rest is passed to Dorset County Council (�1134.54 at band D in 2009/10), police (�172.44), fire (�58.50) and town/parish councils if they make a charge (�55.41 on average at band D).

West Dorset District Council uses the money it keeps from the average bill to help pay for more than 70 services, including:

* Refuse and kerbside recycling collections * Housing services * Street cleaning * Development and building control, including deciding planning applications * Housing and council tax benefits * Leisure centres and tourist information centres * Environmental health * Flood and coastal defence * Car parks

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