Epping Forest District Council has set another low increase on its Council Tax precept.
Residents living in an average Band D property will see the amount they pay to the District Council go up by £3.60 for next year, less than seven pence a week. The increase of just 2.5 per cent will consolidate the Council`s position as second cheapest in Essex and our aim is to become the cheapest over the period covered by the Medium Term Financial Strategy.
The new rate was confirmed at the meeting of the District Council on 17 February 2009. It comes at a time of falling income from investments, fees and charges and a very low increase of only £46,000 overall in the Council`s grant settlement from the Government. However, being debt-free with some substantial investments still earning high rates of interest fixed before the recent Bank of England cuts, Epping Forest remains in a much better financial position than many other Councils.
Unlike many Councils, we are well prepared against the economic down-turn and that will help us through the next three to five years, said Councillor Chris Whitbread, Finance Portfolio Holder. We have managed our budgets carefully, putting money away in case of a `rainy day`. That day has arrived and we are well placed to weather the storm.
Councillor Whitbread continued: Our residents are our first priority. As well as keeping our Council Tax precept down, we will do whatever else we can to help our community through the rough economic times to come. Local businesses should benefit from the freeze on increases to car parking charges. The Council will try to source as much of our spending as locally as we can and we will pay our bills quickly. We continue to fund organisations such as the Citizens` Advice Bureau, new projects such as the proposed Furniture Exchange scheme to be based in Waltham Abbey and a range of Housing- related schemes to help people struggling to keep a roof over their heads.
He added: The budget also allows for improvements to a number of services, including year-round weekly collection of kitchen refuse for recycling.
As the collection authority, Epping Forest District Council also agreed the overall Council Tax at its meeting on 17 February 2009, including rates set by Essex County Council, the emergency services and Town and Parish Councils. Band D residents will pay an extra £19.89 to Essex County Council, £6.03 more to Essex Police and £2.34 to the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service. Combining the elements collected by Epping Forest District Council on behalf of all precepting authorities, the total for an average Band D Council Taxpayer would be £1,460.29, an overall increase of 2.4 per cent.
- Broken down into its constituent parts, the bill for an average Band D Council Taxpayer in Epping Forest district will be:
- £1,066.50 to Essex County Council
- £128.25 to Essex Police
- £64.62 to Essex Fire Authority
- £146.61 to Epping Forest District Council
An additional payment (depending on where you live) to the Town or Parish Council will range from £13.33 in Stapleford Abbotts to £91.79 in Waltham Abbey.
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