RESIDENTS in St Neots should see no change to their Council Tax bills next year.

RESIDENTS in St Neots should see no change to their Council Tax bills next year.

St Neots Town Council has confirmed it will not be increasing its share of the bill and, although other councils and authorities have yet to set their budgets for 2012/13, the Government is again pushing for a freeze by offering grants to authorities that resist any increase.

St Neots approved its budget on Thursday and will see Band D households again charged £84.23.

Chairman of the finance and general purpose committee, Councillor Andy Jennings, said the council was able to achieve the freeze because of the £522,071 held in council reserves.

St Neots' share of Council Tax is only a small part of the yearly bill – other precepts are levied by Cambridgeshire County Council, Huntingdonshire District Council, Cambridgeshire Police Authority and Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Mr Jennings said despite tough economic times, St Neots Town Council was committed to providing efficient, cost-effective services for the people of the town.

“I am delighted that the council has agreed a budget which looks to the long-term development of our town,” he told The Hunts Post. “We have agreed our budget early, which is attributed to both our hard-working officers and members of the new town council whose sensible and business-like approach has been a breath of fresh air.

“Our council is committed to providing services that are efficient and offer good value for money for St Neots' residents. I am particularly pleased that we have been able to do this without increasing taxation or by raiding services.”

Mr Jennings said the council was investing “for the future of the town” by building up reserves to buy land for allotments and cemeteries, as well as taking on additional services, including paying 50 per cent of maintaining the 13 CCTV cameras in the town centre at a cost of around £22,750 a year. The remaining 50 per cent will be paid by Huntingdonshire District Council.

Councillors also agreed an increase in the grant aid budget, to £56,465, with a plan to allocate more money to community associations in St Neots, Eynesbury, Love's Farm and the Eatons, while £63,367 has been put aside to provide a children's play area in Parklands, Eynesbury.

Just under £180,000 has also been set aside for repairs and improvements to council facilities.

Cllr Jennings said: “We want to make sure that the community facilities that the town council runs are places people want to use, which will in turn generate decent long-term revenue streams for the town. That is why we feel it is important to increase the capital budgets for repairs and modifications to the Priory and Eatons centres.

“Our budget shows our firm commitment to all parts of this town. I hope that the example we have set in freezing our portion of the Council Tax will be followed by other authorities in due course.”

INFORMATION: For a copy of the 2011-2012 St Neots Town Council budget visit http://www.stneots-tc.gov.uk/council-information/accounts-2009-10/