Harrogate council tax freeze

Harrogate Borough Council offices. (1401142AM5)
Harrogate Borough Council offices. (1401142AM5)

Harrogate Borough Council’s cabinet looks likely to vote to freeze council tax in the district for the sixth consecutive year at a meeting this evening.

The cabinet are set to discuss the budget proposals for 2015/2016.

Currently there is a projected underspend of £1,422,000 for the year 2014/2015 and cabinet are asked to recommend to set aside this money for a number of new initiative including:

£750,000 as a contribution to traffic reduction measures.

£50,000 towards the funding of the future replacement of Ripon Pool.

£40,000 for a viability study for a direct Harrogate to Knaresborough cycleway.

Despite a reduction in the government grant for 2015/16 of £1,011,000, the council said it has managed to make efficiency savings to ensure there will be no cuts to front line services.

Other recommendations to go before the Cabinet include increasing Christmas decorations funding for towns across the district by £21,000 and allocating £30,000 to the community chest programme which provides grants for local voluntary groups, charities and community organisations.

Following the Cabinet meeting, the proposals will go forward for scrutiny in January before Cabinet recommends its budget proposals to the full council on Wednesday February 11.

Council Leader Coun Richard Cooper (Con, High Harrogate) said: “With government grants reducing it is important that the council manages its budget carefully to ensure we are able to continue providing residents and visitors to the district with the services that matter to them.

“Due to good financial management we will have underspends against budget that we are able to reinvest into services. We also intend to use it on projects which will benefit the community in the future - such as traffic reduction measures and the improvement of our cycling infrastructure.

“The draft budget proposals for 2015/16 show that we are on a stable footing for the future. Prudent financial management means we will be able to continue to operate without having to make cuts to front line services in the coming year, and should the proposals be approved by council, it will mean that residents will not see a rise in the Harrogate borough element of their council tax bills for an unprecedented sixth consecutive year.”