CHANGES to Council Tax support mean that St Ives residents will see their bills rise by 7.05 per cent – higher than previously expected.

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St Ives Town Council last month agreed to increase the 2013/14 precept by 5.25 per cent, but the forthcoming changes in local Government legislation will see the council lose payments from 440 properties – costing the town about £46,000.

Councillors agreed last Wednesday (January 9) to keep the town’s budget at £658,092 – the same as confirmed last month – to fund their projects but increase the precept by £14.24 a year on a band D property.

The council also decided to place in its reserves a one-off grant of £45,734 from Huntingdonshire District Council. The money is being given to councils to offset the fall in income, but St Ives, fearing Government plans to introduce a cap on town and parish council precept increases, has decided to bank the money.

St Ives Mayor Councillor Debbie Townsend said: “The town council is committed to investment in the town’s future and projects planned for next year include new equipment at two play areas and the installation of solar panels on the town hall.

“It will also continue to work actively towards a much improved Norris Museum and library.”

Elsewhere Huntingdon Town Council is expected to raise its precept by five per cent tomorrow (Thursday), followed by St Neots – possibly no increase – on January 23 and Ramsey on January 24.

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service is predicting that it will add £5 to a band D property to protect frontline services when it meets on February 11.

The final Council Tax bills will be published when Cambridgeshire police, Cambridgeshire County Council and HDC set their budgets.

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