No rise in council tax bill this year for Eastbourne

COUNCIL tax payments to Eastbourne Borough Council will be frozen after the local authority confirmed it would accept David Cameron’s £206,000 incentive not to increase it.

Discussing the council’s planned budget for the coming financial year at a town hall meeting this week, LibDem councillors voted against upping payments from residents.

This means that the part of the overall bill made up by the council’s invoice will stay the same, sitting at around £224.19 for the average, Band D, home.

The council’s chunk makes up just 14 per cent of the overall bill, with the rest coming in the form of payments to Sussex Police, East Sussex Fire and Rescue and East Sussex County Council.

Nevertheless, town hall number crunchers estimate the static payments will still generate around £8million for councillors to spend throughout 2012/13.

The decision on whether or not to accept the Coalition’s 30 pieces of silver and the conundrum surrounding decisions on tax increases has caused some controversy locally.

Earlier this month in Seaford, Conservative councillor Andrew Hamilton resigned after the town council voted for an increase in council tax payments.

And there have been concerns voiced that some key services may suffer unless additional funds are generated by passing on the burden to the local tax payer.

Eastbourne Borough Council has received 10 per cent less from central government than this year on top of a 12.8 per cent drop suffered in 2011/12 from the 12 months prior to that.

Council leader David Tutt suggested it was nothing short of a miracle that his staff were able to keep council tax payments the same while not affecting services or dipping into the authority’s reserves.

He said, “We are not cutting any of our front line services, unlike East Sussex County Council.

“I am very, very proud of everything which has been achieved by Eastbourne Borough Council.”

Elsewhere in the proposed budget, which will be voted on a the next full council meeting, it was revealed that town hall staff had earmarked overall savings of £1.2million while increasing the council reserves to a healthy £4million – twice what is recommended councils keep back for emergencies.