Electorate faces council tax poser
THOUSANDS of people are being asked if they want to see less money spent in the Ipswich area – or are willing to pay more council tax.Ipswich Borough Council has sent a survey to 5,000 people from the 119,000 residents it serves, seeking their views before setting the level of council tax for next year.
By John Howard
THOUSANDS of people are being asked if they want to see less money spent in the Ipswich area – or are willing to pay more council tax.
Ipswich Borough Council has sent a survey to 5,000 people from the 119,000 residents it serves, seeking their views before setting the level of council tax for next year.
Council leader Peter Gardiner said the survey targets a cross section of homes within the borough to get a representative picture of what people want.
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He insists councillors will listen to people and the survey is an opportunity for people to have their say on the proportion of the council tax bill that pays for the borough's services. Council tax bills also include an element for paying for the police, county council and parish or town councils.
Mr Gardiner said: "We all want to keep council tax as low as we can, but at the same time we have a duty to provide services for people.
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"Essentially we are highlighting the services the borough council provides so people are clear what we are responsible for, and what are proportion of the council tax goes on.
"The council wants to provide services, but gives people the opportunity to say where we should spend less money.
"We will listen. This will give a good picture of what people realistically expectations are for the money they have collected from them.''
The survey then looks at three different options, including increases in council tax and the chance to spend less money in the community and where those reductions in services should be sought.
The options are broken down in to what changes would mean to residents in pence per week and is an exercise the authority has carried out for the last few years as it strives to seek the public's wishes.
The borough council has had a grant from the Government in line with what it hoped for, after extra money announced by Chancellor Gordon Brown recently brought them to what they had anticipated receiving.
The council expects to receive feedback form the survey during next month and reach a decision about council tax levels during February.