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Council tax set to ‘protect services’


TONBRIDGE and Malling Coun- cil has agreed an increase of 1.99% in its share of the council tax for the next financial year. It would mean a rise of £3.66 a


year, or 7p a week, for a band D property, taking the annual rate up to £187.51.


The percentage is the highest that a local authority can set without triggering a referendum.


The council said the “modest in- crease” was based on “a robust schedule of efficiency savings and careful financial management”. Its overriding aim was to protect the services it provides for as long as possible. Government finance through the Settlement Funding Assessment (SFA) for 2015/16 was £3.6m, repre- senting a cash decrease of £678,500 or 15.6% on last year. The borough continues to receive the lowest SFA of the 12 borough councils in Kent. Sharon Sheldon, director of fi- nance and transformation, advised


councillors that the council should keep £2m in its reserves to protect against anticipated grant cuts in fu- ture years.


Cllr Martin Coffin, the council’s cabinet member for finance, said: “Our overriding objective this year is to protect the services we provide at borough council level. “This has proved very challeng- ing given the substantial reductions in central government funding but the council is well aware of how important public services are to our residents and, in setting our budget, we have identified approx- imately half a million pounds of savings without significant impact on our communities.


“The budget and council tax pro- posals that we have agreed provide us with both continued service de- livery and a basis for the future.” Council tax bills were sent out in March and full details of the budget are available on the coun- cil’s website www.tmbc.gov.uk


More local news at www.downsmail.co.uk


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Monday – Saturday 9.00am until 5.30pm Sunday 10.00am until 4.30pm


There is plenty of free parking right outside. Your one stop shop - for all your pet requirements Rotary donations to charity


TWENTY Maidstone charities are benefiting from more than £13,000 raised by members of the Rotary Club of Maidstone, who managed Santa’s grotto at The Mall and operated business car parks during the Christmas period. Representatives of nine charities received cheques from president William Perry. They are Age UK Maidstone, Heart of Kent Hospice, Maidstone Mencap, Maidstone Churches’ Winter Shelter, Blood Runners, Crossroads Carers, Motor Neurone Association, Mall Cares and Moncktons (for Kent Air Ambulance).


Depot gets solar energy


SOLAR energy is powering Maid- stone Council’s depot, after the in- stallation of solar panels.


Local company Greener Eco in- stalled the panels on the building in Bircholt Road, Park Wood. The move will reduce carbon emissions by 340 tonnes during the next 20 years and save £236,000.


Maidstone Council’s cabinet member for the environment, Cllr Marion Ring, said: “This is a win- win situation. We’ll be keeping an eye on how effectively this works at the depot with a view to installing renewable energy technology across all council-owned buildings in the future.”


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431 London Road, Ditton, Aylesford, Kent www.pinionspetfoods.co.uk 01622 718580


6 Malling April 2015


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