Sedgemoor 1.99% council tax rise approved

Redundancies and a 1.99% rise in council tax have been agreed by Sedgemoor District Council.

The rise in Sedgemoor's share of the council tax bill equates to about an extra £2.65 a year for a band D property.

The council said 38 staff would leave over the next two years to help address a £780,000 funding shortfall.

It was agreed £30,000 would be set aside to help with council tax bills for people affected by recent flooding.

The authority's councillors met on Monday to vote on its budget for 2014/2015.

'Increasingly difficult'

The Conservative leadership's plans include jobs going in a voluntary redundancy scheme and natural wastage along with a package of service spending cuts.

Duncan McGinty, leader of Sedgemoor District Council, said: "It is getting increasingly difficult if we are to carry out the duties that people expect of us.

"You can't cut 50 or 60% of your funding out without making some difference in the future and that is the prospect that all local authorities are faced with."

An estimate of up to £1.2m from the Community Development Fund has been approved to pay the severance costs needed to deliver the voluntary redundancy and flexible retirement scheme.

A spokeswoman for the council said it currently employs 367 staff. This is broken down into 236 full time staff, 97 part time and 34 casual or temporary staff members.

'Identify savings'

Last year the district council's proportion of the council tax was increased by 3.4%, meaning the average band D household paid £135.09 per year - an increase of £4.44.

Meanwhile, Mendip District councillors have opted to freeze council tax in its area.

But Harvey Siggs, the Conservative leader of Mendip District Council, said that there would be further significant challenges in the years to come.

"It is clear that government funding for local authorities is unlikely to increase in the future and I would like to reassure Mendip residents that we are doing all we can to identify where savings can be made while striving to deliver the excellent standard of services which the people of Mendip deserve," he said.

Taunton Deane's councillors will meet on Tuesday night to vote on its budget for the next financial year.

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