Sedgemoor District Council has this week decided to raise its council tax charges for residents in the Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge area by 1.9% as it set its budget for the coming year.

The small 5.3p per week rise on a band D property equates to an increase of £2.74 per year, making Sedgemoor’s annual proportion of the council tax around £140.

The decision came as Sedgemoor District Council approved its budget for 2015-16 during a meeting on Monday (February 23rd).

Councillors and members of the public heard that the authority has achieved a balanced budget despite the tough financial climate.

It comes after Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge Town Council approved a 1.12% increase in council tax bills earlier this year, as reported here.

Sedgemoor Leader Duncan McGinty presented the Conservative Group’s proposals and announced that after setting a two-year budget last year (2014/2015) that there would be no cuts in the services that the council delivers.

He also announced that a new £1million ‘Sedgemoor Economic Growth Accelerator Fund’ will be set up.

“It will be designed to assist businesses of all sizes to come to Sedgemoor and/or grow in Sedgemoor by lending monies to bridge funding gaps that can prevent businesses expanding or relocating,” he said.

Cllr McGinty also announced that £500,000 over two years will be spent on introducing a new Apprentice Programme. And the council will be topping up government monies with an additional £340,000 to bring super-fast broadband to more of the area’s rural districts than was originally planned.

£80,000 will also be spent on undertaking a number of small flood relief schemes across Sedgemoor, in addition to the Somerset Rivers Authority’s Flood Action Plan works, which make a difference where there is localised flooding caused by heavy rain or high tides. This will enable schemes to take place throughout Sedgemoor including at Cheddar, North Petherton, Combwich and Wedmore.

The Conservative Group’s budget proposals were accepted, while the Labour Group’s three alternative proposals were defeated. No other parties put forward budget proposals.