Waveney council tax should not rise

HOUSEHOLDERS in Waveney should see no rise in the district share of their council tax bills from April.

A recommendation that band D council payers continue to pay �147.51 to Waveney District Council in 2011/12 was revealed this week in its draft budget. And there is good news for staff too: there are unlikely to be compulsory redundancies in the next year as the council managed to balance its books in the face of a �2.6m shortfall in government funding. The �2.6m reduction was a 22.7pc fall on 2010/11.

The council said it had achieved a balanced budget for 2011/12 of �17.58m due to efficiency drives and improved links with other organisations, and it said its services would not be adversely affected by the savings made.

Waveney District and Suffolk Coastal Councils now share a corporate management team saving Waveney �400,000.

Waveney has also forged stronger relationships with service delivery organisation Waveney Norse and saved more than �350,000.

Additional savings were made from the North Denes Caravan Park, Waterlane Leisure Centre and Southwold Harbour, it said.

The formation of a new leisure trust has saved the authority another �125,000, while council departments have cut their costs.

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Despite the good news, Waveney’s leader Mark Bee admitted savings might have to be made in future to cope with further funding cuts.

“Despite the financial storm that is blowing through local government, we have avoided swingeing cuts and compulsory redundancies,” Mr Bee said.

“The decisions we have taken and the tireless work of members and officers have helped to ensure this council can continue to thrive and more importantly that our communities will not suffer. I think this is a remarkable achievement.

“Of course this is by no means the end of the story. Further cuts to funding from government will require us to make further savings across the next three years. However, we continue to review all services and will continue to follow the right strategy to weather this storm.

“It will not be easy but once again Waveney will be the envy of other councils thanks to our strategy to address the economic downturn and the skills and abilities of our outstanding workforce.”

The draft budget will be discussed by the council’s cabinet on February 15 and then by full council on February 23.