Council Tax Unlikely To Rise Next Year

The Town Hall

The Town Hall

Your council tax is unlikely to rise next year after the Council’s Policy and Resources committee agreed to freeze the rate we pay at 2010-11 levels.

Council chairman Mike Hicks warned members that, “things are fairly volatile” in the islands but there are signs that the economy is moving, with tourism bookings, “starting to come in” for this season.

Councillors agreed to recommend that the Full Council back the P&R decision to take a government cash incentive not to raise the tax.

The government will pay the Town Hall the same amount of money that they would have generated from locals if there had been a 1% increase in council tax, around £12,5000.

Peter Lawrence Roberts advised councillors that there’d have to be a referendum if council tax rose by 2%, but last week, minister Eric Pickles claimed that Councils approving an increase just under that level would be acting undemocratically. Council’s agreeing this year’s freeze would also be entitled to the same government deal in 2014.

Richard McCarthy was concerned that could tie the hands of the next Council, after the elections, but Peter explained that accepting the freeze wouldn’t commit the Council to doing the same next year.

It wasn’t a straightforward decision.

Councillor Gaz O’Neil said a 1.99% rise was only 45p a week for a band D home and was acceptable. Gaz felt a rise was needed or the Council would be, “lumbered with a  greater hike down the road.”

Amanda Martin shared Gaz’s concern, adding that the Council would have to, “bite a bitter financial pill soon.”

Peter said they could defer a decision but after Gaz acknowledged nobody would back his maximum rise, the vote passed a rate freeze, with one abstention.

Full Council will have the final say in March.