Residents in Stafford borough will pay an extra 6pm a week in tax to the council from April.
It will mean the average Band D property in the borough will pay around £3.12 a week in the next financial year for services such as the recycling and waste collection, street cleaning, maintaining parks and helping the homeless.
The 1.9 per cent rise in council tax was agreed by the council’s Cabinet at a meeting on Thursday, January 14.
The General Fund Revenue Budget and Capital Programme report set out how the response to the Covid-19 pandemic had hit the local authority’s income and also led to an increase in costs.
For example the council scrapped car parking charges over several weeks during the original national lockdown; has continued to support its leisure partner with facilities forced to close due to Covid restrictions, and costs to help prevent people from becoming homeless and finding accommodation for rough sleepers had increased significantly.
Councillor Mike Smith, Cabinet Member for Resources, said that although the Government had supplied funding to local authorities in 2020-21 because of coronavirus – the indicative funding for 2021-22 had fallen significantly short of the deficit the council was likely to incur.
The council is the ‘collecting authority’ for the whole of Stafford Borough and the overall council tax bill to residents will include charges for Staffordshire County Council, the Police and Crime Commissioner, Fire authority, as well as any additions for areas with parish councils.
The annual amount of council tax for a Band D property that will be paid to Stafford Borough Council is £162.30.
The Cabinet report also noted that because of Covid-19 fewer new homes were built in the borough than had originally been projected – therefore less income to the council – and the authority would be giving more householders a discount on their council tax than previously.
Councillor Smith continued: “Nobody welcomes an increase in their bill which is why we always try to keep any rise in council tax to a minimum – and for the forthcoming financial year this will mean an extra 6p a week for the average household.
“This council has an excellent reputation for having well managed finances. This pandemic has seen other authorities teetering on the verge of bankruptcy – but despite the huge blow the virus has delivered to our finances, we have not found ourselves in that position.”
He added: “We did not want our residents to face greater tax hikes when many have already been hit hard by the ongoing effects of this virus – but we also won’t be cutting the vital services or support to the community that the public rely on.”
The full cabinet agenda and reports are available from the council’s website.
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