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Council tax: Boston agrees NO INCREASE

No increase in council tax by Boston Borough Council in 2013/14 - that's the headline good news from the council-tax setting meeting held on Monday night (March 4).

It is the third year running that the council has not increased its share of the council tax you pay.

Lincolnshire County Council also froze its portion. Lincolnshire Police has increased the amount you have to pay it by two per cent - around 7p a week more for those living in a band D property.

The borough council has the job of collecting all council tax, but only retains a small percentage, the bulk being taken by Lincolnshire County Council and Lincolnshire Police. The borough council also collects the Boston special area council tax and parish council precepts.

The average Band D household will again have to pay the borough council tax  £168.39 - just £3.23 a week - with many households paying less.

The total average cost for a band D property

The borough council is now tasked with managing a reduction in its funding from Government for 2014/15 of a further 9.45 per cent to £5.98million

Total Government funding for 2013/14 at £6.6million is largely unchanged from

2012/13. The net cost of running council services in 2013/14 will be £9,177,000.

The council's savings target from 2014/15 to 2017/18 stands at £1,168,000.

Cllr Raymond Singleton-McGuire, joint deputy leader and portfolio holder for finance, said the budget had been developed at a time of significant financial challenge, needing tough decisions to be taken.

He said the council's focus would be on improving housing and business growth -

£300,000 for broadband improvements and £1million for the council's housing strategy. He said encouraging growth should be a "win-win" scenario which would result in more employment opportunities and reduce demand for social benefits.

There was concern over potential reductions in discretionary rate relief given to volunteer organisations and Cllr Singleton-McGuire said there would be continuing talks with those affected in the coming year.