COMMENT: District is set to freeze council tax

County Times.
County Times.

Horsham District Council is almost certain to freeze council tax once again next year.

Although the council remains under enormous financial pressure the Conservative majority seems likely to oppose increasing tax. Instead once again the focus will be on cutting costs and on increasing revenues.

Earlier this year the County Times exclusively revealed that the council was considering charging for the collection of domestic green waste.

However when it hit the headlines, the story provoked very little public opposition and as a result is set to become policy.

Despite the continuing fragile state of the Horsham town centre economy, critics also suspect that car parking charges will again be jacked up, which could result in fewer people using car parks.

This would support the council’s £600,000 estimated loss in parking revenue which members agreed in the Medium Term Financial Strategy 2012/16 last week.

But Tory high command has long favoured managing the council budget by tough cost control and increasing charges at the point the service are actually used.

At last week’s full council meeting George Cockman (Ind, Steyning) alleged some Conservative councillors and also senior officers have favoured raising council taxes in the past. While this is true, they are unlikely to have the final say over next year’s budget.

Godfrey Newman (LDem, Forest) also made calls last week for a rise in council tax saying it had been held ‘artifically low’ for some time.