03:40PM, Monday 12 February 2018
A council tax hike and a large spending programme was approved by members of the Royal Borough’s cabinet last week.
Cllr MJ Saunders (Con, Bisham and Cookham) cabinet member for finance said there was a ‘maelstrom of councils up and down the country’ saying ‘they desperately need to increase their base council tax’ by the maximum 2.99 per cent that can be added without a referendum being triggered.
The Royal Borough intends to raise council tax by 1.95 per cent and also add an adult social care levy of 3 per cent, which Cllr Saunders said left Royal Borough residents with the ‘lowest council tax outside of London’.
During the Maidenhead Town Hall meeting on Thursday, February 8, Cllr Dudley noted that he had read an article in The Times which reported that councils were ‘raiding reserves in order to set their budgets’, which Cllr Saunders confirmed the Royal Borough is not doing.
Cllr Dudley added: “If you raid reserves, sooner or later the money will run out and sadly we’ve seen that in the case of, very unfortunately I have to say, Conservative-controlled Northamptonshire County Council who now can provide nothing other than their statutory obligations.”
The council plans to borrow just under £73m while it spends on projects such as the Braywick Leisure Centre and school expansions.
Leader of the council Simon Dudley (Con, Riverside) said: "This is not debt, you cannot debt fund council services.
“What we’re doing is investing in the Royal Borough for the future and the investment will be repaid handsomely from our property holdings over time.
“We are giving our residents the infrastructure that they rightly want and deserve as part of the emerging Borough Local Plan.”
The budget will be debated by full council at Maidenhead Town Hall, in St Ives Road, on Tuesday (February 20) at 7.30pm.
It will now go to full council, and the next meeting will be at Maidenhead Town Hall in St Ives Road on Tuesday, February 20 at 7.30pm.
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