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Breckland's £14.1m council tax quest

PUBLISHED: 07:31 22 January 2009 | UPDATED: 14:57 07 July 2010

Businesses in Dereham are to be charged for having any domestic waste taken away as a part of a raft of measures to keep council tax down in the district.

Businesses in Dereham are to be charged for having any domestic waste taken away as a part of a raft of measures to keep council tax down in the district.

People wanting advice on their planning applications - from conservatories to new homes - will also be charged from April and licensing fees for pubs and brown bin collections will also cost more in the proposed new budget unveiled by Breckland Council.

The authority needs to rake in £14.1million from council tax payers in the district to bolster its planned £62million spending on everything from rubbish collection to leisure facilities during 2009/10 - due to be approved by the authority next Thursday.

If agreed, it will see Breckland's portion of the council tax levy, based on a Band D property, from April increase to 64.05p, a rise of 3.35pc on last year.

This would still make it one of the lowest district council tax precepts in the country.

However, the proposed budget includes introducing charges across the district for removal of household waste from non-domestic properties in the district.

Other new charges to be introduced, if agreed, include to housing associations for allocating tenants to properties, fees for pre-planning application advice and fees to discharge conditions relating to planning applications.

There will also be an increase in licensing fees and for the collection of brown bins.

Other investment planned includes opening new customer service centres in the district's five market towns.

Some £600,000 has been lopped off last year's £11.8m budget for staffing, taking it to £11.2m for 2009/10.

Local organisations looking for cash for projects are likely to benefit from the budget as £1.7m is to be put in the match funding reserve pot of cash.

The council gets a chunk of its budget from a government grant and fees and charges it makes for services.

However, it still needs to raise £14.1m in council tax. This is up from £13.5m in 2008/9, an increase of £600,000.

A report to the council's cabinet, which agreed the draft budget last week said the council faces risks from the worsening economy, rising energy bills, lower interest rates hitting their investment income, falling asset values, lower rental income and possible loss of their Icelandic investments.

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