Both Christchurch Borough Council and East Dorset District Council have each agreed a small increase of 1.95 per cent on their element of the Council Tax for 2015/16.
The increase equates to around 7p per week for a Band D property and comes in the face of a reduction in government funding for the coming year of £304,000 for Christchurch and £418,000 for East Dorset.
In his speech to the council, Cllr Mike Duckworth, portfolio holder for Performance at Christchurch Borough Council, said: “The deficit reduction programme put in place by the current government will continue into future years whatever the outcome of the election process in May.
“We believe that it is right to apply a small but affordable increase to significantly protect the income needed to continue the services we intend to deliver in the future.
“The increase will also protect our Council Tax payers from the probability of a large increase in the near future when we could be approaching what our auditors Grant Thornton call the ‘tipping point’. This is expected by a majority of councils to arrive in 2017/18 and it is when many councils predict they will be unable to set a balanced budget.”
Cllr Ian Monks, Leader of East Dorset District Council, in his speech to the council said: “Our strategy regarding Council Tax increases has been for small affordable increases of below £4 per annum. Whilst any increase in tax is never welcome, this measure is about more than the coming year.
“We cannot run the financial affairs of this council on a short term basis and by not implementing this modest increase we run this risk of storing up problems for the future, at least those we know about.”
With small increases in the elements of the Council Tax from Dorset County Council (1.99 per cent) and Dorset Fire Authority (1.89 per cent) and a freezing of the Dorset Police & Crime Commissioner’s element, the total Band D Council Tax in Christchurch in 2015/16 will be £1655.23 (with an additional £13.07 for Burton Parish residents and £26.87 for Hurn Parish residents).
For East Dorset the total Band D Council Tax will be £1672.23 (with an additional average of £47.72 for the town or parish element of the Council Tax, varying according to location).