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Three Rivers council: Tax freeze agreed
Councillors have agreed to freeze council tax in Three Rivers for the next 12 months.
The freeze, which keeps the annual cost of a Band D property at £154.30, ends three successive years of cuts to the charges but still leaves residents paying less than they were seven years ago.
The group said the freeze was delivered while continuing to support schemes such as free swimming for young people at local pools, free car parking across the district and ‘start-up funding’ for the South Oxhey Initiative.
At a full council meeting on Tuesday night (February 26), Councillor Matthew Bedford executive member for resources, said: "We face a tough financial situation, with government grants cut by more than we expected, but by working hard with council staff we have been able to make back-office savings of more than £2.5 million over the past five years.
"That has enabled us to improve the services we offer and safeguard the council’s long-term financial position while at the same time keeping the council tax down."
The budget proposed by the ruling Liberal Democrat group was chosen by councillors over a rival Conservative proposal to reduce tax by 2 per cent this year.
Tory Councillor Ralph Sangster said: "This is a Budget that recognises the need to move on at a greater pace than the Lib Dems have in providing additional value from services which remain in the council’s portfolio.
A budget that takes less from the pockets of our hard-pressed council tax payers and a budget which looks to the future and is not stuck in the present.
The opposition group’s proposal included savings of £900,000 over the next three years by outsourcing more services but political opponents dismissed the plan and accused them of "just fiddling figures" knowing the budget would never be adopted.
Labour deputy leader Councillor Steve Cox added: "We find this budget from the Conservatives deeply unconvincing.
"The alarm bells are ringing on this piece of paper."