Wyre Council plan to freeze bill for fourth year

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Wyre finance bosses are pledging a zero increase in council tax for the fourth year running in a year set to see major investment across the borough.

Residents in Garstang and wider district look likely to see a freeze in their borough share of the bill over the the next year - and the year after - despite Wyre Council suffering a cut of £1m in the funding they receive from the Government.

The freeze ensures residents living in a Band D property will pay 49p per day towards the Wyre element, and it will remain in place over 2015 and 2016 under the Council Tax Freeze grant.

Coun Peter Gibson, leader of the council said they were committed to delivering savings without any threat to frontline services.

He said: “A lot of people don’t believe it when you say you can provide better services and still save money but our way of working shows it is possible. Our approach is to look at the ways to make savings, generate income and top up reserves.

“The investment in the leisure provision is one part of that.”

Subject to approval by full council at their meeting at Wyre Civic Centre tomorrow (March 6) , the pledge is for no increase to the portion of council tax that comes to Wyre Council for 2014/15.

With £5.4m set aside for the leisure centre redevelopments, £63m secured to replace Rossall sea defences and £2.4m to restore Fleetwood’s Memorial Park, and a reduction in funding, the authority has still made almost £7m in efficiency savings in the last eight years; an average of £870,000 per year.

Philipa Davies, corporate director of resources, said learning to provide more for less had become a way of working for the whole council but looking beyond 2016 the task would be difficult with the uncertainty of future funding. She added: “As a team, people have gone above and beyond their individual roles to help make improvements or look at any opportunity for savings and it is nice that people do that. There are risks going forward. There’s a lot to manage while trying to second guess what will happen in the future.”