10:16am Friday 17th February 2012
COUNCIL taxes are set to be pegged for the second year running in Test Valley after members of the borough council’s cabinet backed a proposed freeze on Wednesday evening.
They agreed to plug the remaining £200,000 hole in their budget for the next financial year from reserves.
Financial portfolio holder, Peter Giddings, said he has been working on closing up the projected budget gap since last spring.
He said: “We need to draw £200,000 from the budget equalisation reserve as we can’t find other savings at present.
“It is a balanced budget with no tax increases, which is something that everyone would want to hear.”
Despite their success in balancing the budget this year, Mr Giddings warned of the need to identify a further £2 million worth of savings over the next two years.
Head of finance, Will Fulbrook, told the cabinet: “This is going to be a considerable challenge for the council.”
The process of finding further savings and producing budgets will be even more complex in future because of uncertainty with interest rates, the impending localisation of business rates and lack of clarity about the size of future revenue support from central government.
Council leader, Ian Carr, said: “It is going to be a difficult job to find this £2 million, but it is the story of our lives.”
The full council meets at Andover Guildhall next Friday (February 24) to formally approve the council tax demand, which will be made up of the demand from police, fire, county council and parishes, as well as the borough council.
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