Views sought on council cuts

PEOPLE in the Harrogate area are being invited to have their say about how much their council tax bills should rise by, if at all.

It’s part of a consultation exercise launched by Harrogate Borough Council to find out the public’s views on how to balance the budget in 2012/13.

The council has put an online survey on its website, www.harrogate.gov.uk, which asks a number of questions to determine people’s spending priorities and find out their preferred ways of making budget savings. It also includes questions on dog fouling, fuel poverty, financial inclusion and the Nidderdale visitor attraction, the Coldstones Cut.

The council says it needs to make savings of around £360,000 to balance its budget.

This is because one of its three main sources of funding, the central government grant, is being cut by £1.6m (17 per cent) this year and £1.1m in 2012-13.

To address the shortfall, it plans to increase its other two sources of funding: council tax by 2.5 per cent for 2012-13 (following a two-year freeze), and fees and charges by 4 per cent.

It also intends to make spending cuts of 3 per cent.

However, these measures are provisional and the the council is legally required to consult the public about them.

People have until the end of November to respond to the online survey.

Paper versions can be obtained from engagement@harrogate.gov.uk or by calling 01423 556068.