HBC freezes rise in council tax

RESIDENTS will not have to pay any extra money in their council tax bills to the borough council this year.

Councillors on Wednesday (February 26) decided to freeze the rate.

Council car park charges will also remain unchanged, the authority said as it set its budget over the next year.

Residents will still face a rise in their bills after the county council raised its rate by 1.95 per cent.

However, councillor Jeremy Birch, council leader, said since 2010 cuts in the Government grant awarded to Hastings Borough Council meant that over the next few years the council will be employing less staff.

He said: “We have prepared as best we can for this. By building up our reserves we are now able to release some of that money to support the budget for next year and for the next couple of years to help smooth our downward path to a smaller council.”

The council will be spending £20,000 a year on co-ordinating a town-wide anti-poverty action plan involving a number of public bodies.

There will also be a one-off sum of £300,000 for a national cultural festival to celebrate the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings in 2016.

The council also agreed its capital investment programme which amounts to £3 million for 2014-15.

This includes nearly £1 million on disabled facilities grants to adapt the homes of residents who need it, as well as £250,000 for Hastings Pier.

It also includes £250,000 as part of a lottery bid to improve Hastings Castle as a visitor attraction and £100,000 to improve facilities for mourners at the crematorium.