UPDATED: North Yorkshire council tax to go up - but councillors refuse pay rise (From Gazette & Herald)
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UPDATED: North Yorkshire council tax to go up - but councillors refuse pay rise
RESIDENTS across North Yorkshire will see their council tax bills rise next year - but councillors have today voted not to give themselves a pay increase.
North Yorkshire County Council has approved financial plans at a meeting at County Hall in Northallerton which could also see some libraries, children's centres and waste recycling sites close.
The authority has rubber-stamped a budget containing about £20 million of cuts. It has made or drawn up plans savings totalling £170 million since 2011, saying this has cut its spending power by more than a third.
The 1.99 per cent council tax rise - just below the level at which a referendum is needed - will see average Band D bills increase by about £21 a year. The council's library service will be reviewed, and libraries which are not taken over by communities may shut, while some children's centres are also likely to close.
However, councillors voted against awarding themselves a one per cent rise in their allowances, despite the increase being recommended by the authority's independent panel on members' remunerations. The panel had said it would be in line with national pay awards to civil servants.
An amendment tabled by council leader John Weighell that allowances should not rise was voted through, meaning they will not have increased since 2009/10.
Coun Weighell said: "At a time when the authority is being forced to make significant savings across the board - some of which will inevitably impact on frontline services - it would be wholly inappropriate to award ourselves an increase."
Under the 2014/15 budget proposals approved today, the way household waste recycling centres operate will be looked at, which may see new charges introduced or closures.
The council's winter maintenance budget will drop by £750,000, although it said this will not mean fewer roads being gritted.
A "significant" number of jobs will be lost "over time", with the number not being specified.
However, the authority said it would also put more money into extra-care housing for elderly residents and the Superfast North Yorkshire broadband programme, as well as focusing £5 million on repairing and maintainiong roads damaged by severe winter weather and floods in recent years.
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