Senior councillors back plans to increase council tax in Harrogate by two per cent

Coun Richard Cooper. Picture : Adrian Murray. (1406037AM6)
Coun Richard Cooper. Picture : Adrian Murray. (1406037AM6)

Senior councillors have backed plans to increase council tax by almost two per cent across the Harrogate district from April.

It will be the first time Harrogate Borough Council has put up its element of the tax since 2009 following a six-year freeze.

The 1.99 per cent rise has been recommended in draft budget proposals for 2016/17, which were presented to cabinet members at Harrogate Borough Council yesterday.

If the increase is approved by full council next month, owners of a Band D property will pay an extra £4.37 a year, or 8p per week.

Coun Richard Cooper said: “Unfortunately we can’t hold the process forever. The price of things goes up over the years and while we have been able to hold the position for a long time by making changes and savings in a number of ways, we have got a small rise.

“At the same time we are going to expand services, particularly the recycling service.”

Coun Cooper said it was hoped residents would able to recycle mixed plastics and corrugates cardboard in the next few weeks.

He said: “The rise in council tax will pay for new services like this without having to cut any frontline services. It also goes towards our parks and gardens, gyms and swimming pools, which don’t make money but people enjoy using them. We also provide facilities like the conference centre, which keeps our restaurants, pubs, hotels and guesthouses going.

“For an extra 8p a week, we are providing quite something for the district.”

The council’s central government grant has reduced by £5.4 million - 54 per cent - over the last five years and further reductions are expected in the future.

It is expected that the authority will have will have to make around £1.65 million in savings to balance the budget in 2016/2017.