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District backs 3.45pc council tax rise

PUBLISHED: 09:39 20 February 2009 | UPDATED: 10:40 07 July 2010

A council tax rise of 3.45pc has been agreed by North Norfolk District Council - despite an 11th hour opposition bid to slice the budget by more than half.

A council tax rise of 3.45pc has been agreed by North Norfolk District Council - despite an 11th hour opposition bid to slice the budget by more than half.

The Liberal Democrat-controlled council voted to back a £15.8m budget which resources cabinet member Peter Moore said protected services people believed were important without putting an undue burden on residents during a time of recession.

The new Band D figure of £135.09 for district services - up £4.50 on last year - was still one of the lowest in the country and the rise of less than 9p a week was cheaper than sending a text message.

Major falls in investment income and a low government support grant had made the budget challenging. But the council had balanced the budget with some one-off savings, and some cutbacks - ranging from a review of CCTV coverage to reduction of verge cutting - along with and additional income including changes to garden waste and car parking fees.

Expansion of services had been limited due to the pressures on the budget, with £294,000 worth of a wish list having to be put on ice.

The council had to fund the additional costs of kennelling stray dogs, after the responsibility was transferred to the district, and had found cash to retain an anti-social behaviour caseworker, explained Mr Moore.

He said the council was not prepared to axe some of its discretionary services such as public toilets, sports, and arts even though it could have saved hundreds of thousands of pounds - because they added to the local quality of life.

The opposition Tory group put forward an alternative budget which Angie Tillett said would have saved £9m. It included sharing services with neighbouring councils, and looking to have Cromer Pier run by a charity trust - but it was voted down.

The new parking charges in short stay spaces will be £1 for the first two hours, then 70p an hour after that, while tourist car parks rise to £1.10an hour or £5 all day.

Rises in short stay season tickets have been pruned back by £5 following consultation and comments from scrutiny committee. They will cost £50 for a year and £30 for a half year. The long stay annual ticket rises £15 to £180 and half yearly from £100 to £110.

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