Lichfield District Council is delivering what residents want, the local authority’s leader has said.
Cllr Doug Pullen was speaking during a debate on the budget at a meeting of the council last week.
The session saw councillors vote to increase the local authority’s share of the council tax bill by 2.78%.
Cllr Pullen said that while the increase was not ideal, it was necessary to continue delivering local services people replying to a consultation had asked for.
“No-one comes into local politics to raise taxes.
“While accepting that the consultation did only have a small response despite it running longer than usual, 63% of respondents said they’d be okay with a £5 rise, which is exactly what we’re proposing.
“We are delivering precisely what our residents are asking us to deliver.
“They’ve told us waste collection is important to them. We are amongst the 10% who kept up bin collections throughout the last year. They told us parks are important and we’re continuing to invest in our beautiful parks across the district.
“Our residents asked us for Friary Grange to be refurbished and kept open – that’s exactly what we’ve done. They’ve asked for a new leisure centre and we’re developing one.”Cllr Doug Pullen, Lichfield District Council
Labour group leader, Cllr Steve Norman, said the focus of the budget had been based around restrictions put in place by the Conservative party.
“It’s not just COVID, it’s all those years of austerity and cuts that we are suffering from now.
“This isn’t so much a district council budget as a Conservative budget.
“It’s an above inflation increase in council tax dictated by the Government who made it necessary for this cabinet to suggest a 2.78% increase.
“That’s on top of the Staffordshire County Council 4.99% increase – again the maximum – and the Staffordshire Commissioner whose parting present for us is 5.99% rise and the fire increase at 1.99%.”Cllr Steve Norman, Lichfield District Council
Cllr Norman said his party would not be offering up an alternative budget, but said he could not vote for the Conservative one.
But Cllr Pullen insisted the budget was focused on local residents.
“A budget that supports our residents”
The leader of the controlling Conservative group said investment in the area would continue over the next 12 months.
“Cllr Norman says it would have been easy to propose an alternative – I’d suggest it’s quite difficult to propose a fully costed budget and that’s why Cllr Norman hasn’t bothered to do so.
“This is a budget that sees no cuts to services and sees support for our economy.
“It’s a budget that supports our voluntary sector – it’s a budget that supports our residents.”Cllr Doug Pullen, Lichfield District Council