Lib Dem Cllr, Michael Stead, is calling for a council tax freeze during the town council budget process. Cllr Stead, who was elected with an 80% vote for the Woodham Ward of Great Aycliffe Town Council earlier this year, stood on a policy of fair council tax.
Michael comments, “We need to make sure that as much money as possible stays in the pockets of Newton Aycliffe residents this year. It is essential for the town that we do not overburden our residents with council tax hikes. The Town Council now has the highest reserves it has ever had. I will therefore be calling for a council tax freeze as well as some specific investments and savings in order to make sure that long-term our council tax bills do not rise.”
Cllr. Stead is proposing that part of the £1.3m reserves that the town council has is allocated to invest to save projects. He explains, “There have to be ways to bring down the cost of running Great Aycliffe Town Council, whether it is in reducing the £20,000 water bills or moving more of our vehicles over to electric to make long-term savings and protect the environment. I am certain there are dozens of additional options which we can look at.”
The Lib Dem Councillor suggests that having at least £100,000 allocated towards projects, which save money long-term, would allow a council tax freeze for a number of years, and suggests a council committee be repurposed to do this. Mr Stead also wants a review of all expenditure in all departments to find any possible savings which can be made.
He adds “We need to do this to make sure that those front line services, which residents rely on in Newton Aycliffe, can be protected whilst keeping money in residents pockets. Both can be achieved.”
Even after freezing council tax and investing to save, the Town Council would still have well over £1million sat in the bank.
Michael, represents the Woodham Ward and will be standing for the Lib Dems in the upcoming County Council elections too. He says his policies will mean that there are more than sufficient reserves to protect the council and keep council tax down.
As a County Councillor he has said he would continue the fight to tackle double taxation which is crippling people in Newton Aycliffe.
Residents currently pay both the Labour-run County Council and the Town Council for the same services whilst other parts of the County only pay once as they have no town council.