Council tax rate set for 2015/16

tis  Harrogate Council building.  (140131M1d)
tis Harrogate Council building. (140131M1d)

The average Harrogate household council tax bill will rise by £26.87 this year.

Harrogate Borough Council voted to freeze their element of the council tax for the sixth consecutive year, however North Yorkshire County Council, North Yorkshire Police and North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue are all upping their precept by 1.99 per cent.

This means the average Band D household will pay £1,596.90 council tax during 2015/16, compared to £1570.03 in 2014/15.

This can be broken down into; £ 1, 099.98 for North Yorkshire County Council services, £ 219.56 for Harrogate Borough Council services, £ 212.77 for North Yorkshire Police & Crime Commissioner services and £ 64.59 for North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority services.

At a full Harrogate Borough Council meeting last week (Wednesday February 11), councillors congratulated one another and officers for managing the council tax freeze.

Council leader Coun Richard Cooper (Con, High Harrogate) said he was delighted to be able to allocate £30,000 for Community Chest grant funding. Christmas decoration funding has been increased to £50,000 and £750,000 has been allocated for traffic reduction measures.

He said: “The council is in a strong financial position compared to many other local authorities. The last five years have seen the council’s Government grant reduced by 54 per cent. We have therefore had to do things very differently to maintain services. We have done this and ensured that no front line services have been cut.”

There were no such congratulations at North Yorkshire County Council, where Councillors heard that the 1.99 per cent council tax increase will produce income of about £4.8million, against a budget requirement of £363million.

Even with the tax increase, the council will need to take more than £1.6million from its reserves while implementing savings of around £22million next financial year.

North Yorkshire County Council are in the process of implementing the controversial 2020 budget, which will see services, including libraries and care for the elderly and young people, cut.

County Council Executive member Coun Don Mackenzie (Con, Saltergate) warned that more savings would be needed.

He said: “NYCC has lost about a third of its budget in the last five years. It is becoming more difficult to deliver the services that we used to deliver.

“It is inevitable there are more savings being planned.”