The lowest council tax for Fenland
THE people of Fenland will have the lowest level of council tax in Cambridgeshire in the coming year, with owners of band B properties paying an increase of only 9p a week. Fenland District Council leader, Councillor Geoff Harper, told members at last Thu
THE people of Fenland will have the lowest level of council tax in Cambridgeshire in the coming year, with owners of band B properties paying an increase of only 9p a week.Fenland District Council leader, Councillor Geoff Harper, told members at last Thursday's full council meeting that in preparing its budget for 2006/7 the council had consulted with the community more widely than ever before and was building on a system it began two years ago - putting resources into priorities - Community First, Open for Business, Decent and Affordable Homes and Streets Ahead.He said Cambridgeshire County Council, the police and fire services were all setting increases at 4.5 per cent or more, but Fenland Council was increasing its part of the bill by three per cent, resulting in Fenland having the lowest average level of council tax in Cambridgeshire.Average increase in Fenland Council's part of the council tax for 2006/7 would be 9p a week or £4.76 a year for a band B property (he pointed out that 85 per cent of Fenland's homes were in bands A. B or C).More than £420,00 worth of efficiency and other savings had been achieved, equivalent to seven per cent of council tax.He said the Government had short-changed Fenland again by cutting its grant by £310,000, equivalent to five per cent of council tax and the council had to build into the budget increased resources for many factors outside its control, including new legislation and fuel price increases.Cllr Harper said the council had revolutionised the way it dealt with its customers in 2005. The "hugely successful" customer access project had led to nearly 200,000 visitors to the council's one-stop shops and more than 200,000 calls to its contact centre.As far as capital expenditure was concerned Cllr Harper said the council was ambitious and wanted to do more for the people of Fenland in terms of facilities and infrastructure, but this became more difficult each year with Government funding in key areas being cut.The council was, however, committed to the Nene Waterfront regeneration project at Wisbech, the biggest development project ever undertaken by the council, with £1.3million set aside for it in 2006/7.The council had also set aside £250,000 for improvements to parks and recreation grounds.