HIGH-quality services, investment and raising council tax slightly are the key components put forward in Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s (BDBC) proposed budget.

Members of the cabinet have proposed a budget which it says focuses on the services that matter to residents and ensuring they are good value through a constant drive for savings and better use of resources, including income generation.

Council tax is proposed to go up by £5 per year for the average household, with the borough currently having the lowest rate in Hampshire at £47, or 30 per cent, lower than the average district in the county.

The decision was made during a cabinet meeting held on November 7, where the financial plans for the next four years were also agreed upon.

This proposal will now go out for consultation, with feedback being considered before the final decision on the budget is taken at a full council meeting in February.

Keeping weekly rubbish bin collections will also be funded, following an earlier decision to maintain the service after feedback from residents.

One hour free parking in Basingstoke town centre is proposed to continue to support traders but some increases in parking charges will be introduced in other council-run car parks though BDBC says prices will remain lower than other car park operators in Basingstoke.

BDBC cabinet member for finance, service delivery and improvement Councillor Robert Tate said: “Our proposed budget for the coming year continues to makes us a low council tax borough despite having one of the highest expenditures per head of all districts in the country.

“Our proposals are focused on continuing to invest in our communities, prepare for the borough’s future success and support those less fortunate in our community, while still delivering the range of high quality and range of services that our residents expect.”

More funding is proposed to be targeted to housing regeneration initiatives and there is a focus on supporting the most vulnerable in communities and working effectively with partners.

Over the last nine years, BDBC says £11.2 million in savings have been made without cutting services, with the borough council continuing to look at how it can run even more efficiently. It also aims to increase income by £2.2 million in the next two years.