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Council tax rise in Wycombe unclear
A RISE in council tax next year for Wycombe residents has not been ruled out by the district's leader.
A freeze has been in place for three years at Conservative controlled Wycombe District Council.
But with funding from Government continuing to fall and with Bucks County Council already announcing an increase, there is further pressure on WDC's finances.
The aim is continue to keep council tax as low as possible, WDC Leader Cllr Richard Scott told the Free Press, but he could not say currently if the freeze will be maintained.
He said: “It's a bit early to comment but our commitment is to keep council tax as low as we possibly can but to keep the essential services going and that's what we'll do.”
For the last four years, the Government has given councils grants to freeze council tax but this is ending.
Asked if there might be a rise, he said: “Let's wait to see what the numbers come up with. It's difficult to comment, we haven't done all the work yet.
“But the Conservatives said when we were elected we would keep it as low as we possibly could. “We’ve done that for three years, we've kept it at zero despite the pressures.”
A decision is expected to become clearer in December or January as the next budget gets finalised.
Cllr Scott said: “We're in the process of looking at the medium term plan.
“Long term its looking quite tough. Short term is probably not too bad but that work is still ongoing.”
BCC receives three quarters of total council tax bills, with district councils getting nine per cent, the fire service taking five per cent and police receiving the remainder.
BCC has asked residents in a survey if they are willing to stomach a five per cent rise in its portion, in return for an extra £11m to spend on services, including £6.2m on roads.
A Bucks Free Press online poll showed 26 per cent in favour of this level of increase, with
30 per cent opting for a four per cent hike, meaning BCC would get £8.8m, including £4m for roads.
Asked what he made of the poll result, Cllr Scott, who is also a county councillor, said: “I think if any council was minded to put an increase through, if it was justified by ring fencing it then that's something that, as you say from your straw poll, appears to interest people.”
However, to raise it above two per cent requires a referendum – costing £750,000.
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