St Albans council tax set to be frozen for third year

COUNCIL tax payers in the St Albans district look set to pay no extra for services from April.

For a third year running Herts county council, which takes the lion’s share of council tax bills, has frozen any increase.

The same decision is expected to be taken by St Albans district council at a meeting tonight and the Herts Police Authority which both take a smaller share.

The county council’s budget and council tax figure was approved by full council on Tuesday. Its precept takes in such services as schools and social care, fire and rescue and maintenance of the county’s 3,000 miles of roads. Band D properties will continue to pay �1,118 a year for the county council’s portion of the bill.

Leader of the council Robert Gordon said: “Despite the difficult economic situation and increasing demands on our services, through efficient planning we have been able to freeze council tax in Hertfordshire for a third year in a row.

“We have listened to what residents have said about our services and their needs. Demand for school places is increasing, as is demand for modern facilities for our older population. Local businesses need support to continue playing a vital role in our economy and road maintenance remains a priority for most of our residents. We have committed to addressing all of these issues in our budget so that we continue to meet the needs of taxpayers while making the savings needed to balance the books.”

David Lloyd, cabinet member for resources, went on: “In the budget for 2012/13 we have committed to further school expansions to meet the demands of our growing population, over �70 million for road maintenance and over �20 million towards a �40 million continuing improvement programme to bring our care homes up to the latest standards.

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“We also want to do all we can to support the recovery of Hertfordshire’s economy. As well as investing in our transport infrastructure, we plan to invest in extending high-speed broadband to areas of the county with poor coverage.

He added “Very importantly for the long-term economic stability of this county, we have committed to reducing the council’s debts at a faster rate.