Filton residents will pay slightly LESS for the Filton element of council tax from April – a far cry from the 35% increase in 2020.
Councillors agreed to no increase for the coming year, which will actually amount to a small 0.57% decrease due to Filton gaining some extra properties in the past year.
This means households will be paying around £6 per week for Filton Town Council services.
Councillors were divided over the issue with a group of four backing a 10% decrease in the bill. They said the council will have an effective £256k surplus and could afford a drop in the precept bill.
Other councillors supported no change, saying that they can use the excess to more precisely target those in need.
Cllr Alan Bird, who supported maintaining last year’s level, earlier in January proposed the creation of a social fund with the surplus which would target accurately those who needed help the most during the cost of living crisis.
He said: “This is an opportunity to use a social fund to help those in greatest need.
“A 10% decrease for all would be just pennies off (per month for each household).”
Cllr Dan Boardman said the council was in a significantly different position compared to when they were running the loss-making leisure centre.
He said a 10% reduction would still leave a £150k surplus which could be used for good causes.
The 2020 increase came in the context of the council struggling to keep the ageing leisure centre going. This has now been outsourced to Active Nation, meaning it is no longer part of the council budget.
Cllr Adam Monk said past attempts to reduce council tax had led to subsequent problems.
Cllr Andy Robinson said he was concerned about the high surplus during the ‘cost of living crisis’.
Four councillors backed a 10% decrease, with six councillors opposed.
A subsequent motion to keep the precept unchanged was carried 7-3.
South Glos Council Tax, the largest element of the bill, and other precepts for Police and Fire Brigade will also be collected and are likely to see a rise for households.
In December, South Gloucestershire Council’s ruling Conservatives were accused of “pretending they can solve” a £29.3million budget shortfall “caused” by their own party’s government.
The authority’s cabinet agreed a raft of proposed cuts, including green waste collections rising from £30 to £55 a year, dimming street lights and reducing staffed library hours.
Opposition councillors aired concerns about the draft 2023/24 budget, which will be agreed at full council in February, but the ruling group and officers had little more to say about the savings required to plug the deficit.