Members of County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Authority agreed their 2017-2018 budget and council tax at a meeting of the Combined Fire Authority held today (9 February).
The 2017/18 budget was set at £27.805M which represents a reduction of £804,000 from the current level.
The amount of funding the Authority receives from central government continues to fall and will reduce by a further £0.1.2m (9 per cent) in 2017/18.
In order to produce a balanced budget, members of the Fire Authority agreed to increase council tax by 1.97 per cent from 1 April 2018. This will generate £317,000 per year of additional funding which will partially offset the cut in government grant and help to protect front line services.
The increase in council tax amounts to £1.89 per year for a property in council tax Band D or £1.26 per year for a property in council tax Band A.
As the majority of properties in County Durham and Darlington are in council tax Band A, this will mean that residents will be asked to pay an additional 2p per week to protect their Fire and Rescue Service.
Councillor Michele Hodgson, Chair of the Combined Fire Authority, said: “We have again been able to set a budget that does not increase risk in our local communities. The increase in council tax helps us to balance the budget and means that there will be no increase in risk and no change to our emergency response standards in 2017/18. The increase in council tax represents £1.26 a year for the majority of our council tax payers, the equivalent of 2p per week. The risk of not increasing council tax is that the Authority would need to find more savings to balance the budget now and in future years against a backdrop of already significant and sustained government cuts to our funding.”