WOKING’S Conservative-led authority signed off a 2.3% increase in council tax on Thursday night.
The rise, equivalent to around 10p per week for a Band D property, brings the total due per year from residents in that housing bracket to £221.76 (depending on individual circumstances, such as single person discount).
The charge covers the cost of refuse collection, environmental maintenance, planning services and leisure facilities.
The decision follows a 1.95% Tory hike at county level the previous Tuesday.
Add the local fees to the county council’s new annual charge of £1,268.28 (which includes a 2% increase relating to adult social care) and the Surrey Police & Crime Commissioner’s charge of £220.19 for force operations, and Band D residents in Woking will be paying £1,710.23 in council tax in 2016/17.
Tory chiefs from both councils say the new rates are necessary following Whitehall’s controversial Local Government Finance Settlement announcement, which substantially reduced support for Woking.
However, transitional grants of £137,417 for 2016/17 and £112,000 for 2017/18 were included following rep-resentations from Council Leader John Kingsbury and Jonathan Lord MP. This was a similar case in the 10 other boroughs that make up Surrey.
Speaking about the approved budget, Cllr Kingsbury, said: “Over the past few years we have been preparing for the loss of Government grants by making savings, adapting the way we deliver services and investing in the future of the borough.
“The transitional grant settlement and the modest increase in council tax – necessary to protect council services that are greatly valued by our residents – will go towards meeting the financial pressures we continue to face.
“Despite these challenging times, we will continue to invest in our borough’s economic growth and community facilities.
“This has enabled us, in the past, to put the needs of the people first, and is something we intend to continue in the coming years.”
In March, Woking Borough Council will send council tax bills for the new financial year to all households.