St Albans city residents to be hit hardest by tax rise to be voted on alongside increase in councillors’ allowances

PUBLISHED: 14:50 28 November 2018 | UPDATED: 14:50 28 November 2018

St Albans district council offices.

St Albans district council offices.

Archant

A council tax increase for St Albans is due to be voted on at the same time as an increase in councillors’ allowances.

Next Wednesday, St Albans district council will vote on whether to increase next year’s taxes by an average of 2.39 per cent.

Council leader Alec Campbell said: “We are committed to ensuring the council is resilient, efficient and provides value for money.

“We are increasing funding in repairs and maintenance while keeping the proposed council tax increase to the inflation rate.”

Later on at that meeting, councillors will vote on whether to accept a recommended two per cent increase in their basic allowance – the money given to each councillor for their work.

The increase has been recommended by the Independent Remunerations Panel, which does not include any councillors.

A report prepared by the panel for Wednesday’s full council meeting justifies the increase by highlighting the inflation rate and how the allowance did not rise at all for the nine years before 2018/19.

It also highlights how council officers received two pay awards during the course of the panel’s latest review.

Meanwhile, taxes could go up by 2.51 per cent for people living in the City Neighbourhoods Committee (CNC) area (Ashley, Batchwood, Clarence, Cunningham, Marshalswick South, Sopwell, St Peter’s and Verulam).

Whereas for those people living outside the committee’s remit, in areas such as Harpenden and Wheathampstead, it would be 2.25 per cent.

This is because the CNC is looking to increase the amount of money they get from the council by 3.66 per cent.

CNC chair Chris White said: “One of the problems with the committee is it has acquired a lot of assets that are not in very good nick.

“We are very worried about the deterioration of play areas and broader things such as assets in Clarence Park like the cricket ground.

“We are gradually increasing the capital spend on that. We are bringing up to scratch a variety of community assets.”

The CNC will vote on Wednesday whether to recommend the increase, which fund a 21.7 per cent rise in the budget for Verulamium Park and a 2.9 per cent in the Clarence Park budget.

The overall council tax bill will not be settled until next February, when all the precepts are known.

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