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District approves council tax rises




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A council tax rise of just under 4% was approved by Newark and Sherwood District Council on Monday — almost double the increase agreed last year.

There was a complaint that councillors outside the controlling Conservative group had been unable to get explanations or ask questions.

The rise means that people in a band D house must pay £163.48 a year from April 1 for the services provided by the district council, compared with £157.49 for this financial year.

Three Liberal Democrats at the meeting voted against the budget but other members supported it.

The total bill for a Newark council taxpayer in a band D home will be £1,630.06 — £1,158.43 for the county council; £163.48 for the district council; £145.62 for the police; £65.44 for the fire brigade and £97.09 for the town council.

It is the second highest demand in the district. The highest bill is for people in Ollerton, where those in a band D property must pay £1,644.60.

Balderton is the third highest with £1,611.93, while people in Southwell will pay £1,576.06.

The lowest for a band D property is £1,532.97, which will be levied in several parishes, including Cotham, Gonalston, Holme and Maplebeck.

The leader of the council, Mr Tony Roberts (Con) said the 3.8% rise amounted to an increase of £5.99 a year or 111/2p a week for those in band D homes.

He said as most homes were in the lowest band A category the rise would be even lower at 9p a week.

He said that as part of the budget consultation a survey was distributed among residents and parish councillors who made up a citizens’ panel.

He said more than half said that it was important for the district council not to increase council tax by more than inflation even if it meant a reduction in the levels of some services.

“I would like to think we have met the requirements of the citizens’ panel,” Mr Roberts said.

Mrs Gill Dawn (Ind) said they would be supporting the budget. She said the increase was about the equivalent of a packet of cigarettes or a bottle of wine.

Mr Brendan Haigh (Lib Dem) saidthe budget belonged to the Conservative group and they had to accept 100% responsibility for it.

Those not belonging to the controlling group had not been able to get detailed explanations or ask questions.

He questioned why the district council was paying for work at Newark’s Sconce Hills and Devon Park when parish or town councils normally had to pay for work in their parks.

The deputy leader, Mr Roger Blaney, said they had been given a disappointingly low Government grant that had a knock-on effect on their budget.

The council also agreed the capital programme for 2008-13.

It includes £100,000 for replacement wheelie bins,and £46,000 for a new roof at the Lincoln Road sports hall in Newark.

A total of £83,000 has been set aside for work at Sconce and Devon parks, which will come from the Growth Point grant.



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