TAXPAYERS have been told it would cost each one of them less than the price of a pint to maintain their services.
Paul Dunn, who represents the Midway ward for Labour on South Derbyshire District Council, made the claim after hearing that the authority’s ruling Tory group would propose freezing its element of council tax for the third year running.
He told the latest meeting of Newhall Area Forum that a one per cent increase would net the council £52,000 but cost taxpayers only 3p or 4p per year or up to £1.50 a year per property.
“When you talk about council taxes going up it’s not always better to have a freeze,” he said.
“Do you want to see a big black hole in your council’s budget or do you want to pay less than the price of a pint to ensure your services are still there?
“Nobody wants to see taxes increased, but you have to ask: do you want see services cut and people sacked?”
Newhall villager Richard House backed the councillor’s observation, pointing out that the largest elements of residents’ council tax bills consisted of precepts set by Derbyshire County Council and the police and fire authorities.
“It would be a good thing for the Mail to report because it might catch people’s attention,” he said.
Earlier, Mark Alflat, the district council’s director of operations, said any authority planning a rise of two per cent or more must put it to a referendum.
Conversely, any council which froze its precept would be reimbursed by the Government at a rate equivalent to a one per cent increase for two years.
Mick Mulgrew, who represents the Swadlincote ward for Labour on the district council, said thoug the authority would lost one per cent if it rose council tax by 1.95 per cent, it could still use the 0.95 per cent to protect some services.
Agreeing, Sean Bambrick, who represents the Newhall and Stanton ward for Labour on the authority, said: “We know people are going through hard times but we are only talking about pennies that will benefit a lot of people.”
Pat Murray, who represents the Midway and Hartshorne division on Derbyshire County Council, hit back by arguing that the Tory cuts were merely a response to years of Labour profligacy.
The debate came after Mr Alflat said the authority would have to save £300,000 a year from next year in response to reduced funding of £1 million over five years.
He said: “We will try our best to cut budgets and not services. So far we’ve managed to do that.”