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Low council tax rise proposed for Aylesbury Vale

Archived press release

Date Published: 15/01/10

The rise residents could face amounts to just five pence a week, or £2.50 a year.

The rise residents could face amounts to just five pence a week, or £2.50 a year.

Aylesbury Vale District Council is proposing to levy a very low council tax increase this year in response to the difficult economic climate.

The council’s cabinet this week recommended a budget for 2010/11. If it gets the go-ahead at the full council meeting next month then a typical Band D taxpayer will be paying £131.07 a year for AVDC services.

Residents in Band D homes currently pay £128.57. The rise they could face amounts to just five pence a week, or £2.50 a year.

“This recommendation reflects the council’s determination to help the people of Aylesbury Vale weather the economic downturn,” said Councillor Neil Blake, Cabinet Member for Resources. “Despite the fact that the authority has to cope with significant pressures on its budget, such as reduced interest from investments and inflation from increasing fuel costs, as well as an inadequate government grant settlement for services, we are resolute to keep the tax increase as low as humanly possible without causing damage to the services we provide to local people.”

The cabinet has agreed a package of savings totalling more than £750,000 to help produce a balanced budget for 2010/11. Achieving this has involved stringent housekeeping and the cabinet has undertaken a full review of how the council’s services are provided to ensure that customers are receiving effective services delivered in the most efficient ways.

As part of the package of savings, the council is being recommended to introduce modest levels of charging for long and short-stay parking in Buckingham and small increases in car parking charges in Aylesbury and Wendover. It is also recommended that charges be introduced at the Greyhound Lane car park in Winslow and tariffs be increased at Market Place.

The plan for car parking in Buckingham includes the development of a new long-stay car park at Buckingham Athletic Football Club in Stratford Fields and the creation of more short-stay spaces at Cornwall’s Meadow.

If these tariff changes are agreed, it is proposed that they would be fixed for two years and come into force from April 2010. Part of the overall budget package is to allow free parking in AVDC car parks in the run up to Christmas each year.

Other savings recommended by cabinet include:
• A freeze on staff pay and members’ allowances in the next financial year
• Introducing charges for providing pre-application planning advice
• A small reduction in the amount of funding awarded to voluntary and community groups
• Removing the council’s funding contribution to the Parklife event in Aylesbury, the Buckingham Festival Fortnight and the Buckingham Tourist Information Centre
• Ceasing funding to the Reflex Gym in Winslow

Cabinet members also considered whether the council should withdraw from managing and maintaining toilets in rural areas and invite parish and town councils to take over this service. The cabinet is recommending that this withdrawal be delayed for one or possibly two years to allow time for further discussions with the relevant town and parish councils.

It is also proposed that the council should help fund refurbishment works to rural toilets so that they can be transferred in good condition, if the town and parish councils are willing to take them on and maintain them thereafter.

Councillor Blake added: “The severe economic downturn and its far-reaching impact on the public sector has forced us to make some extremely difficult budget decisions. Nonetheless, the proposals we have supported have focused on achieving as many of the savings as possible through efficiencies and maximising income generation, in order to have the least possible impact on services.”

Although AVDC collects the council tax, it only keeps about 10 per cent of the total bill to pay for services such as collecting refuse and recycling, planning, parks, benefits and bus passes. The rest is passed to other service providers in Buckinghamshire.

The final budget for 2010/11 will be discussed and agreed at the full council meeting on 3 February.

Contact information

Contact:

Media Officer

Telephone:

01296 585099

Email:

communications@aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk