A six week consultation is now underway over a proposal to increase council tax for the first time in two years.

Wealden District Council announced a freeze on a council tax increase last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This year the authority is proposing a 2.53% increase on council tax bills from 2022/23, which is equivalent to £5 a year – or 9p a week – for a Band D property.

The consultation launched this month following approval by the council’s Cabinet committee. It will run until Thursday 20 January 2022.

Wealden council’s share of the council tax bill is 10% and the money helps pay for refuse and recycling collections, planning, street cleaning, environmental protection and free car parking.

The remaining 90% of council tax bills is set by and distributed among East Sussex County Council, Sussex Police and East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service as well as local parish or town councils.

Wealden’s part of the District’s overall council tax helps pay for refuse and recycling collections, planning, street cleaning, environmental protection and free car parking.

Council leader Bob Standley said, “Nobody wants council tax to rise but a £5 a year increase – which equates to 9.6p a week for a Band D property; 20p a week for the highest band and 6p a week for the lowest band – is a reasonable amount to ensure we deliver good services to our residents.

“The main reasons for the increases are is that there are financial challenges ahead so we have to be reasonably prudent.”

Councillor Standley said those challenges include having to save £500,000 off its annual budget; uncertainty over business rates; a potential increase in costs due to a rise of planning appeals and possible charges associated with new rules concerning both garden waste and food waste collections.

The council leader said, “We are also investing in projects including Wealden Crematorium and Knights Farm West Employment Park. These projects will take some years to fully deliver but will contribute to the council’s income and help in keeping future council tax increases as low as possible.

”We have been prudent in previous years and it has borne fruit. Wealden council is in a strong position compared to a lot of other authorities across the country which are struggling.”

To take part in the consultation visit https://www.wealden.gov.uk/consultations/budget-2022-23/