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Gillingham residents living in a band D property are likely to see their council tax go up by around £87 for the year 2020-2021.

That is based on analysis by Gillingham News after looking at proposed increases by local councils and public bodies. None of the rises have been formally agreed yet but the overall figure is likely to be close to this amount.

The bulk of the rise will come from Dorset Council who look set to vote in February for an increase of about £65 a year for band D residents. This is made up from a general rise of just under 2 percent in the council tax plus the full social care precept of 2%.

The police precept for Dorset – to be agreed on 4 February –  cannot rise by more than £10 a year, while on Monday 27 January councillors in Gillingham will be voting on a proposal to increase the town’s precept by a fraction over £10 a year for band D residents, an increase of 4.89 percent.

No figures were immediately available for Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, but they represent the smallest part of the overall council tax bill.

The vote on Gillingham Town Council’s precept on Monday comes after a meeting of the town’s finance committee on Monday 20 January in which councillors agreed to some cuts on their proposed budget.

That budget would have raised the precept for band D residents by £12.36 or 6.04 percent.

At Monday’s meeting Councillor Val Pothecary said anything over 6 percent would be ‘hideous’ and she preferred an increase of under 3.5 percent. ‘Our ratepayers were hit particularly hard last year. I think we just need to cut our cloth a little,’ she said.

Councillors then agreed to a series of cuts, including £5,000 for dog warden services which are already provided by Dorset Council and £1,500 set aside for a town crier.

If agreed on Monday, this revised budget will bring the precept increase down to £10.01 a year or 4.89 percent for a band D property for Gillingham residents.

However, councillors rejected ideas for deeper cuts to get the increase down to 3.5 percent, which might have required cutting the town’s grant to the Citizens Advice office.

Rejecting the call for further cuts Councillor Graham Poulter said: ‘We’re considering services that we have to provide – and we are expected to provide – and I’m afraid that comes at a cost.’

Finance committee chair Councillor Sharon Cullingford said it was important to have a discussion on the issue. But she said of the councillors’ difficulties in finding more room for cuts: ‘It goes to show that we have been extremely frugal with these figures.’

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