By Bruce Sinclair
CEREDIGION rate payers are facing the second-highest percentage council tax increase in mid and west Wales, equating to more than £100 a year for the average property.
At the February meeting of the county council’s Cabinet, members agreed to a 7.3 per cent increase in the council tax level for 2023-24.
A 7.3 per cent increase – including 1.3 per cent in relation to the Fire Authority Levy increase – would equate to a Band D cost for county council purposes of £1,553.60; an increase of £105.70.
The Cabinet previously considered the rise at its January meeting, and sought the views of the Budget Overview and Scrutiny committees, which met earlier this month, before bringing the matter back to the February meeting.
A final decision on the increase will be made at the March 2 meeting of Ceredigion’s full council, the same day as a similar decision in made in Pembrokeshire, which sees the highest precentage increase in mid and west Wales.
Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet, meeting last week considered three council tax options for 2023-24, set against a funding gap of £18.6m.
The three options were: an increase of five per cent, seven-and-a-half per cent and 10 per cent; eventually agreeing on a 7.5 per cent increase, which would increase the annual bill of the average Band D property by £62.46, to £1,311.63.
The 7.5 per cent increase – which will be considered by full council on March 2, would be coupled with budget savings of £8.055m.
Members in Pembrokeshire heard the ’23-’24 gap will need to be bridged by a combination of an increase in council tax, using of 75 per cent of the second homes council tax revenue, an estimated use of £1.6m of reserves, and budget savings.
They were warned the council tax increase would have to be raised to 12.9 per cent to balance the budget if full council didn’t support using revenue from the second homes council tax premium.
Carmarthenshire’s council tax is expected to increase by 6.8 per cent this year, subject to finalisation next month.
An expected five per cent hike to council tax levels in Powys will be decided at a full council meeting on February 23.