Hyndburn council will increase its share of council tax for the first time in eight years - as bosses bid to plug a £2.2 million funding shortfall.
The borough council has confirmed it will hike its bill by up to £5 a year for ‘average’ Band D properties – and residents could yet see a far greater rise in their bills if other authorities follow suit.
Hyndburn council said its first ‘precept’ increase since 2009/10 is due to ‘massive cuts’ from central government and changes in waste and recycling services from Lancashire County Council (LCC).
The Hyndburn rise will not be higher than two per cent – which would trigger a referendum on the decision.
If both LCC and Hyndburn council agreed to impose two per cent hikes, Band D bills would rise by over £30 a year.
Hyndburn council leader Miles Parkinson said: “We have been very efficient and managed to keep council tax at zero since 2009/10 which is an amazing achievement.
“However, due to other effects of spending reductions at county hall, they are not going to fund things how they previously did. We didn’t want to bring the cost in in one year as it would be astronomical. We are going to do it over a two-year cycle.
“We have looked at restructuring but there’s still a funding gap.”
The cash raised from the tax increases will go towards replacing the white sack and blue box waste collection system.
From the summer of 2018, two new wheelie bins will instead be provided to each household. The council also plans to allow green waste to be deposited in the normal household waste bins in summer 2017.
Coun Parkinson said the refuse changes will allow people to recycle more and make the streets cleaner.
He said: “Like any service, if we are having to change it we want to improve upon it.
“If you are in East Lancashire most days are wet and windy and we’ve had problems of the blue bags and white sacks blowing across the streets.
“A lot of the terraced properties don’t participate because they have to put it at the front door.”
Conservative group leader Tony Dobson said he ‘cautiously welcomed’ the proposals but wanted to see more information.
He said: “We need to make sure all our assets are being used and sweated to the max.
“I think it’s maybe time to look at the services and the money we pay and make sure that we are spending any increases in council tax in a way the residents of the borough are passionate about.”
Hyndburn council’s precept makes up 14 per cent of the overall council tax bill with the majority going to LCC and other small shares to the police and fire services.
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