Residents will pay just six pence a week extra in tax to Stafford Borough Council from April.
Car parking and garden waste collection charges will be frozen; major investment will continue; and popular events like the spectacular fireworks during the ‘Christmas Lights Switch On’ will still go ahead.
And plans have also been put forward which will see an extra 1700 of the hardest hit families in the borough pay no council tax in the next financial year.
Councillor Mike Smith, Cabinet Member for Resources, has outlined the programme of proposals that could go ahead despite the local authority having faced a potential shortfall of around £900,000.
A meeting of the Full Council will next week (Tuesday 24 January) hear that the average band ‘D’ property in the borough will pay around £3.24 a week - a 1.9 percent rise - for services such as the recycling and waste collection, street cleaning, maintaining parks and helping the homeless.
Already the council has earmarked around £600,000 savings by sharing services with neighbouring Cannock Chase District Council in a move that will protect key functions to residents. That saving includes a £90,000 reduction of senior management costs.
Like most local authorities across the country, Stafford Borough Council is still recovering from the financial impact of the pandemic, increases in energy costs and the rise in the cost of living.
A range of future savings has also been put forward to address the gap in the budget with senior councillors stressing that vital services to the community would be protected.
The report which will be discussed by councillors on Tuesday states: “The challenges facing local government as a whole are exceptional when setting next year’s budget - most councils will be facing decisions that involve the severe curtailment or closure of some services.”
The council is the ‘collecting authority’ for the whole of Stafford Borough and the overall council tax bill to residents will include charges for Staffordshire County Council, the Police and Crime Commissioner, Fire Authority, as well as any additions for areas with parish councils.
Councillor Smith, said: “Despite the enormous financial pressures that all local authorities are facing, we have kept our promise of keeping council tax to a minimum - and this will mean only six pence a week more for the average household - while protecting the services that are important to our community.
“We have an excellent reputation for having well managed finances and, although the pandemic and rise in inflation have had huge impact on the council budget, this authority will still be delivering significant investment in major projects such as the transformation of Stafford Town Centre and the creation of a top-class destination park in Stone.”
He added: “We are also looking to support our lowest-income families by putting forward proposals to give them a 100 percent discount on their council tax bill. That will mean around 4,500 households paying no council tax from this April.”
The annual amount of council tax for a Band D property that will be paid to the borough council is £168.52 for 2023/24. This was agreed by the council’s cabinet last month.
The Full Council will be discussing the report which can be found at www.staffordbc.gov.uk/committee/council
Press Release No 5995