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People should pay more council tax says outgoing chief executive of Rochford Council
12:00pm Friday 20th December 2013 in News
ROCHFORD Council’s retiring chief executive has said he thinks residents should be prepared to pay more in council tax.
Paul Warren will stand down later this month, handing the reins to successor Amar Dave, after 15 years as the council’s most senior official.
In an interview with an online magazine he spoke of the need to increase council tax to keep pace with councils’ costs – though he conceded this was not a popular viewwith some of his councillors..
He said the £205 a month the average household in Rochford paid in council tax was a relatively small amount.
He added: “If we freeze it for a year and we don’t get money in from another source to compensate, even for an increase in the cost of living, that means that next year, you are starting from a smaller base, so any decision you make in one year will not just impact on that year, but on subsequent years. So, my advice to members is, if possible, you should always try to increase council tax, year on year, because if you stand still, you are not just losing that year’s increase but subsequent y e a r s ’ increases as well.”
His words come as the council considers its budgets for next year and the possibility of freezing tax for the next two years.
Another option would be to put up council tax by just under two per cent – any more and the council would need to consult residents via a referendum.
However, Hawkwell Residents’ Association councillor John Mason, who represents Hawkwell West, criticised the timing of Mr Warren’s words.
He said: “It was a little surprising coming from the chief executive, even if it’s in his retirement.
“It’s a sensitive time when the council tax is being discussed. The timing is inappropriate.
“I’m not sure he should be doing that in that way.”
Rayleigh resident Rachael Darby, 33, of Cheapside West, also criticised Mr Warren’s suggestion She said: “Of course we don’t want council tax going up.
“There are not enough police in the area, and with all that’s going on with the developments, all the council seems to be concerned about is money and not the people who live here. We can barely survive as we are.
“The council should start looking after us. It’s ludicrous to think it would put it up.”
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