Council tax and service charges all rise

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Council tax bills will increase between £39 to £114 annually plus the cost of some council services will go up after South Ayrshire Council approved its budget for 2019/20.

Golfers will have to pay more to play on council run courses (raising £82,0000) and allotment holders will have to shell out more than double – the cost of a plot rising from £20 per year to £49. Swimming prices are likely to go up with a review on charges underway and there will be a 4% increase on the price of council bereavement services.

Residents will have to fork out more to pay for rubbish collections that don’t fit in wheelie  bins, the cost of bulky uplifts rising from £20 to £25 for the first item with every additional one rising from £2.50 to £5. Commercial waste services are also on the up. 

Council leader SNP Councillor Douglas Campbell said determining the council tax increase was not an easy decision for them.

Speaking at full council he said: “In taking the decision we have to balance our ability to provide the services that you want with the income we receive and what we can raise through local taxes and charges.”

In a rare display of unity and agreement, councillors from all parties voted to put up council tax by the maximum 4.79 per cent during the budget meeting, and so avoiding the alternative of more drastic cuts.

Council tax will bring in £56.8 million out of a total of £268 million revenue budget and finance bosses are dipping into reserves to add £1.8 million to the spending pot for the coming year.

Councillor Campbell said: “Our budget focuses our resources where they are needed most, where they will make the biggest difference, and protects our frontline services.”

Conservative group leader Councillor Martin Dowey said: “The South Ayrshire budget has been cut year after year,” adding that his group were engaging in “grown-up politics.”

Despite the Conservative councillors supporting the budget, speaking after the meeting their group leader Mr Dowey said: “This is a budget that raises taxes for local people while delivering fewer services to local communities; it’s a ‘pay more, get less’ budget from the council’s ruling SNP/Labour coalition.  

“It needn’t have been this way, since Conservative councillors said we were willing to play a positive role in developing budget proposals, but our offer was never taken up by the council’s political leadership.”