Councillors vote for tax increase - after granting themselves £70,000 raise
PUBLISHED: 17:17 21 February 2020 | UPDATED: 12:40 22 February 2020
Archant/Broadland District Council/Norfolk Conservatives
Councillors have backed a tax rise of more than 4pc - at the same meeting where they voted to give themselves a backdated allowance increase worth £70,000.
Broadland District Council (BDC) voted last night to agree its council tax rates for the next financial year.
It came during a heated meeting where councillors also awarded themselves a major boost in their allowances after an independent panel advised they up the basic rate of allowance for councillors by 31pc.
And Broadland tax payers are now set to see an additional 4.04pc added to their bills, after Norfolk county councillors voted earlier this week to agree a 2pc tax hike to the rates paid to county hall.
The move faced criticism in the chamber, after Trudy Mancini-Boyle, portfolio holder for finance, said: "We want to be able to be as ambitious as we possibly can be."
The council's budget for 2020-21 will see Band D property owners pay £125.52 in district council tax - which represents a £4.38 increase on the previous year.
However, in areas where the council accepts responsibility for maintaining street lights, the cost is a special - extra - expense.
And the total rise comes to an average increase of 4.04pc for Band D council tax payers.
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The council also agreed to a detailed five-year programme of spending worth £28.8m - which they anticipate will require external borrowing from 2021-22.
Steve Riley, Liberal Democrat councillor, said: "It's a question of whether we don't increase this year given the reserves we've got.
"Next year may be a more appropriate time to look at this."
But Ms Mancini-Boyle said: "The increase this year isn't the full £5 that we're able to do - it's lower than that.
"We want to get on with the capital programme. It would be great if that produced enough funds to not have to raise council tax going forwards."
And Dan Roper, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, added: "The headline on a big councillors allowance increase and the council tax increase - it's unfortunate in terms of timing tonight that we've voted through an item on our own pockets.
"I'm left asking myself if I can really look my residents in the eye if I vote to increase councillors allowances and the council tax. I don't think I can with the reserves as they are at the moment."
Some 26 councillors voted in favour of the increase, with nine voting against and one abstention.