Runnymede households will pay more in council tax from April after borough councillors approved a hike last week.
A full meeting of Runnymede Borough Councillors approved the 2.9 per cent hike for the borough’s portion on Thursday (February 10), an extra £92 a year for band D Runnymede residents overall.
The Government is this year allowing borough councils to raise council tax by a maximum of £5 or two per cent, whichever is higher, and £5 increases have so far also been approved by Guildford, Woking, Tandridge and Reigate and Banstead.
Conservative council leader Nick Prescot said: “As the cost of living increases, we know this will have a direct impact on many people and families living in our borough.
“We’re committed to supporting residents. If you’re struggling to pay your council tax bill, help is available, please contact us to find out how we can assist you.”
Runnymede’s increase follows a rise from Surrey County Council of £77 and a rise of £10 for Surrey Police for their portions.
This means a band D household in Runnymede will pay £2,101 for the 2022-2023 financial year, up from £2,009 this year.
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There was opposition to Runnymede’s budget from some who wanted to see more spent on tackling climate change.
Their Liberal Democrats leader Don Whyte said: “We’ve just employed an environmental officer. We still haven’t got a carbon neutral strategy.
“To get there by 2030 we should be putting money in to pursue initiatives that come forward.”
He added: “There was the opportunity to raise £160,000 through empty dwelling premiums. Runnymede Borough Council has 30 dwellings that have been empty for more than two years.”
The council has committed to top up a £1.3m government grant with £300,000 to install solar panels and wall and loft insulation in some of its least energy efficient homes this year, such as Parkside and Braeside in New Haw, Addlestone.
Council tax will bring in £6.2 million for Runnymede council, £368,000 more than this year.
The council’s £541 million of investment property generates about £25 million revenue.
Cllr Prescot added: “We know there is a cost of living crisis on the horizon, and as borough councillors we are determined to do everything possible to provide efficient and effective services for our residents, supporting the local community in the process.
“We’ve committed to maintaining our services like planning, bin collections, park maintenance, and housing repairs. We are also pushing our own levelling up plans, bringing economic success to our town centres, whilst delivering a number of other important priorities to support local people.
“Sound financial management and other income like rental payments from business properties we own means we have been able to keep the increase as low as we can possibly justify whilst still providing good quality services and help for those most in need.”
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