WEST Dorset councillors have approved the budget for 2018/19 after balancing the books for the current year resulting in a £5 increase in council tax for Band D properties.
The budget aims to protect vital services in West Dorset.
The council is forecasting a balanced budget for 2018/19, despite continuing financial challenges.
Since 2015, the government grant for the council has reduced each year and there will be no government support grant in 2019/20.
The budget has been set based on the council’s aims to protect services and deliver further efficiencies.
A balanced budget will also leave the council in a position of strength leading into the establishment of a new unitary council in 2019.
For the coming financial year, the council is aiming to balance its budget against savings of £710,000.
To do this, the council has agreed a council tax rise which works out as an extra £5 a year for a Band D property, or £144.75 in total, one of the lowest council tax rates in England.
Efficiencies will come from continually improving how the council works and savings from initiatives such as the new arrangements for the Gryphon Sports Centre, which is now managed by Gryphon School.
The budget does not include any savings to be identified or rely upon one off sources of income to support expenditure.
Councillor Anthony Alford, Leader of West Dorset District Council, said: “We have again been able to balance our budget and protects local services.
“We have adapted to the continuing financial pressures by working smarter and this puts us in a great position going into developing a new unitary council.
”We understand that no-one wants to see council tax rises at this time. But we believe this to be a modest rise that will help to protect vital local services.”