By Bruce Sinclair
PEMBROKESHIRE ratepayers are expected to see rises of up nearly £100 on average in council tax bills despite a late call for a lower rate.
A proposed 7.5 per cent increase, subsidised in part by funds from the second homes council tax premium, was agreed by the county council’s Cabinet on February 14.
It had considered three council tax options for 2023-24, set against a funding gap of £18.6m: an increase of five per cent, seven-and-a-half per cent and 10 per cent.
Members backed the 7.5 per cent increase, which would increase the base annual bill of the average Band D property by £93.69, to £1,342.86.
Members of full council, meeting this Thursday, March 2, are recommended to back this 7.5 per cent increase.
A report for the March 2 meeting states that, if funds from the second homes council tax premium are not used, ratepayers will be facing a 12.9 per cent increase.
This would add an extra £161.14 for the basic average bill, taking it to £1,410.31.
Last week an amendment was proposed by the independent group of members for a 5.5 per cent rise instead of 7.5, which would raise the base annual bill to £1,317.87.
Former council leader Cllr Jamie Adams said: “This proposal is designed to alleviate the immediate pressure on hard-pressed council tax-payers whilst maintaining the service budgets recommended to council.”
The expected 7.5 per cent rise, together with a broadly similar increase in the Dyfed-Powys Police precept and the town and community councils element, will see total bills for a Band D property of up to £1,734.26, with Haverfordwest topping the list.
That figure is more than £270 lower than the highest figure in neighbouring Ceredigion.
Other expected rates for Pembrokeshire towns include: Milford Haven £1,688.37, Pembroke Dock £1,714.85, Tenby £1,729.66, Narberth £1,716.44, Fishguard £1,706.14, St Davids £1,655.51, and Crymych £1,670.21.
Second homes tax
Second homes in Pembrokeshire currently pay double the standard council tax rate.
Using 75 per cent of the second homes premium would free up some £3.7m, which would fund services such as the Youth Service, homelessness, housing standards, street cleaning, parks and open spaces and public toilets, members of the council’s Cabinet previously heard.
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