Independent Councillors to present alternative budget to Taunton Borough Council

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By abbie_taunton | Monday, February 25, 2013, 13:05

Freezing the council tax in Taunton Deane will do nothing to "spruce-up" the district, claim two independent councillors who have their own alternative plan.

Councillors Eddie Gaines and Steve Ross, who represent Wiveliscombe, will present their alternative budget to the Conservative run borough council tomorrow night.

It includes a 9p per week council tax rise.

The pair would split cash available to the council from the new homes bonus which Conservatives want to set aside for growth and regeneration, including flood alleviation and infrastructure and put £2 million into a fund to improve the natural and built environment.

Another £375,00 would be used for a "spring clean" and for rethinking Christmas lights funding in Taunton. Although the borough council paid for the lights the community is now expected to run them.

The leadership also proposes to cut the £10,000 to Christmas lights funding to Wellington and Wiveliscombe. Councillors Ross and Gaines argue that the two towns should keep their funding.

Council leader Councillor John Williams said that Wellington has accepted the situation on lights funding and that aid would be phased out over time.

The Conservatives propose historic investment of £11.7million in new build affordable homes, despite a 5.4 per cent drop in Government funding.

Together with a Knightstone Housing scheme a total of 128 affordable homes could be built across the district.

Councillor Williams said the council tax freeze would help hard-pressed families with no cut to frontline services, but hard decisions must inevitably still be faced in the future.

Story by Western Daily Press.

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