Possible Council Tax reductions in Christchurch, a commitment for no resident to experience a rate rise higher than the Government’s referendum threshold and a special Task & Finish Group to look at preserving Mayoralties for the three existing Boroughs were all resolved priorities for the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Joint Committee’s latest meeting.
Chair Cllr Janet Walton said: “We know that residents right across the new council area are feeling the squeeze in their household expenditure, and the Joint Committee was keen to give as much certainty as we can about the likely levels of Council Tax for the new authority.” She continued, “Whilst there is much for the Task and Finish Group to do and many options to work through, the Joint Committee has resolved to prioritise council tax harmonisation options that ensure that no Borough’s Council Tax levels will rise at a rate exceeding the Government’s referendum limits; and include freezes and/or reductions to the absolute level of Council Tax paid by Christchurch residents.” She added, “As a Committee, we very much hope that this alleviates some of the worries that local people may have had about the implications of council tax for the new local authority.”
The Joint Committee also set up a special Task and Finish Group to ensure that all the work necessary to preserve Mayoralties in each area in undertaken in time to be included within the necessary legislation. Cllr Walton commented, “Everyone values and respects the distinct history and civic traditions that each Council currently has. These will continue to be cherished and form a valued part of any new council, and that is why the Joint Committee has dedicated Members’ time to ensuring all the necessary work is done to protect those traditions and roles.”
In addition, the Joint Committee also agreed important principles for sharing out assets of the new council, including ensuring that people receiving services and care are not disadvantaged, and that stakeholders are involved. A Task & Finish Group was established to commence this work.
The Joint Committee also agreed a resource plan for creating the new council, and to seek external advice on the process for appointing a Chief Officer.
Details of the Committee, including all papers, can be found at www.bcpshadowauthority.wordpress.com.