Budget of savings and cuts

St Edmundsbury Borough Council has approved its 2012/13 budget with no councillors voting against it.

The council has accepted a £165,000 government grant in return for freezing Council Tax for the third time in the last four years.

The freeze will see the borough’s Council’s Tax precept remain at £3.37 a week for a band D household.

The council also intend to make £2.15 million of savings over the next 12 months.

A number of savings, predicted to amount to £656,000 ,will be made by sharing services and a joint chief executive with Forest Heath Borough Council.

The council has also identified £3.81 million of property and assets which are no longer used and can be sold.

The budget also saw the approval of controversial car parking charge increases.

Cllr David Ray said: “We have to make money in some way. We have taken the choice not to make that by levying everyone and raising Council Tax – we are trying to make savings but we have to back that up by increasing some charges.”

A number of other proposals, including reducing voluntary arts and community grants, charging for the use of the Abbey Garden toilets and closing the town’s tourist information office were rejected following public consultation.