Help sought in bid to reduce tax bills

COMMUNITY leaders today appealed for residents' views over how they can keep tax bills from rocketing.

COMMUNITY leaders today appealed for residents' views over how they can keep tax bills from rocketing.

Suffolk Coastal District Council is carrying out a top-to-bottom review of its services and priorities in a bid to cut �1 million a year from its budget over the next three years.

Residents will be asked next month to take part in a survey in the council's Coastline magazine and on its website.

Council leader Ray Herring said: “I warned in May that despite our excellent record of delivering savings, the financial climate facing councils meant that we need to make 20 per cent savings on our budget, equivalent to �3 million.

“Our efforts since then mean we are already one-third of the way to meeting that target but we want help to agree how we can bridge the whole gap.

“The task facing us is a tough one, partly because we have been so successful in recent years.

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“Since 2001 we have achieved over �8m of efficiencies, and we are spending �3.75m less than other similar councils, which means it is increasingly difficult to wring any further savings from our existing services.

“That is why we want our residents and our town and parish councils to help us identify which services deserve to remain a top priority and which in these pressing financial times are less important.”

An initial survey of councillors revealed they thought the most important services to the public were planning, coast and estuary management, waste and recycling, and environmental protection, while among those ranked lowest were cemeteries, dog warden service, pest control, theatre management, and abandoned vehicles.

Proposed changes to priorities would include supporting economic development and recovery, housing to meet identified needs, and continued emphasis on preventing people becoming homeless.

What should Suffolk Coastal cut? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

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