Council tax bills are set to rise across Medway according to budget plans announced today.
Medway council says the proposed 1.99% increase is needed to safeguard frontline services following successive cuts in funding from central government - and budget planners say they still need to find a further £94,000 in order to balance the books before the March 11 budget deadline.
The planners could have opted for a government “freeze grant” of £1m in return for keeping council tax levels as they are, but chose instead to take the revenue from the 1.99% hike - which will bring an extra £1.8m per year.
For the average Band D property, the rise will equate to a £22.77 increase – the equivalent of 44p a week.
Cllr Alan Jarrett, Deputy Leader and Portfolio holder for Finance, said: “We have worked very hard to close the gap between what we receive from government and what we spend on our frontline services and we have come very close to doing that.
“It has been extremely difficult to try and balance the books at a time when we are facing such a drastic reduction in our budget.
“We are currently left with a £94,000 deficit which we will be finding ways of closing between now and Full Council.
“We were determined frontline services wouldn’t be hit this year as these impact on every one of us. A modest council tax rise is, we feel, unavoidable if we are to maintain these vital services.”
Details in the budget are subject to change, up until final decisions are made at the Full Council meeting on Thursday, February 20.