From April, residents will see their council tax increase by 4.7% after Caerphilly County Borough Council’s budget was approved.
Concerns were raised in a full council meeting by Caerphilly’s Plaid Cymru group leader Cllr Colin Mann, who said the increase was too high.
Cllr Mann proposed an amendment to increase council tax by 3.5%, but it was rejected by full council.
He said: “We should not raise the council tax more than we absolutely have to.
“We all know about the increasing number of people using food banks and a lot of those people are working sometimes in two or three or four jobs. This is the situation people are in.
“I think as councillors we have a duty to keep that bill as low as we possibly can, and I think that’s a reasonable compromise. It can be done without affecting the overall budget.”
However, the cabinet member for social care and wellbeing Cllr Carl Cuss said that the increase would allow the council to protect vital resources.
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He said: “We are putting a reasonable tax rise level to ensure our services stay afloat and so we can put money into our place-shaping agenda.
“That place-shaping agenda will allow us to put money into social care, education, leisure services and they are denying that.”
Responding to Cllr Mann, council leader Cllr Philippa Marsden, said: “We have carefully considered your suggestion but as a prudent and financially responsible council we will need to take decisions to protect the public first and safeguard our key services.
“We believe that the 4.7 % increase is reasonable and still places us in the lower quartile.”
Concerns were also raised in the full council meeting over a proposal to cut the voluntary sector budget by £80,000 so a review could take place.
Independent councillor Kevin Etheridge said it should be abandoned and proposed a motion to that effect, but it was lost.
Cllr Etheridge said: “I believe every councillor here wants to defend the voluntary sector budget.
“They do a marvellous service and I appreciate the review of the voluntary sector will leave them in a state of flux and uncertainty for months.
“I believe the review into that should not take place and I would like to propose that the £80,000 in the service review is moved over to the withdrawn savings review. That would give the people in the voluntary sector certainty, and it would also give the people of the county borough certainty.”
Cllr Marsden said that the review was important to understand the funding mechanisms of the voluntary sector organisations affected – Citizens Advice Bureau, GAVO and Groundwork.
Despite £3 million in cuts, the final budget protects frontline services such as education and social care. This includes funding £13 million to protect school budgets.
Plans to make cuts to CCTV cameras, reduce the highway maintenance budget and school crossing patrols were scrapped earlier this month.
The budget will come into force in April.