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Councillors agree to freeze council tax

A freeze in council tax was one of the highlights of Wycombe District Council’s revenue budget, which was agreed on Monday.

At the meeting of the cabinet in the council’s Queen Victoria Road headquarters in High Wycombe, councillors voted unanimously to recommend the budget be approved by the full council when it meets on Thursday, February 21.

The decision would mean Band D properties paying the same as last year – £136.99 – to the authority, as part of their overall council tax bill.

The council also has a ‘Higginson Park Trust’ fund, which budgets for the upkeep of Marlow’s park in Pound Lane. The council receives £375,000 income from the park but the total outgoing costs are £568,000, resulting in a net expenditure of £193,000.

Wycombe District Council will be collecting just over £67m in income from sources such as car parks and rent – including £46m in government grants – but the cost of delivering services totals over £88million, meaning the ‘net cost’ of its services is just over £21m.

It therefore has a budget requirement, after corporate items such as interest receipts, of nearly £17m for the year ahead, which it will fund through council tax and business rates retention, which is where councils bear a proportion of the real terms change in business rates revenues in their areas.

Cllr David Watson (Con, Flackwell Heath and Little Marlow), cabinet member for finance and resources, said: “There are very few changes from the draft budget we discussed in December. Council tax will not be increased for the year ahead.”

Cllr Watson added that he hopes to pass on ‘a good legacy for the future’ for the new single unitary district council for Buckinghamshire, which comes into effect in April next year.

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