THE first steps towards freezing a portion of the area’s council bill tax have been taken.
On Tuesday Arun District Council’s overview select committee was given a first look at the council’s budget for 2015/16.
Committee member Cllr Roger Nash said: “All local authorities have been facing significant challenges particularly with the cuts to the grant from government. I hope going forward government will look at this and give us some degree of certainty so we can plan ahead and be able to be imaginative and innovative.”
However he warned there would be challenges ahead.
He said: “We can say we are having a council tax freeze but that really won’t be the case for residents who will probably end up paying more through general taxation.
“We rob Peter to pay Paul. The 2015/16 budget includes drawing down from balances and that cannot continue infinitely. There will come a time when that will have to stop and Arun will have to make cuts.”
Councillors were told it had been noted cuts would have to be made but the magnitude of these was not clear and would have to be considered by the new council after the election.
Cllr Dr James Walsh voiced his anger funding from government intended for the parishes was not been passed on in full.
“The government minister has said in two statements this funding is to be passed on. It is a kick in the teeth not to. It is robbing parish councils who will be forced into a position were they have to reduce or terminate services,” he said.
The report will go to the cabinet before a council meeting on February 24.
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