Hundreds of people have had their say on plans for a council tax rise referendum – and now we want to hear from you as we hold our own survey.
Last week, Brighton and Hove City Council’s minority Green administration shocked many with the news it planned to go to the polls with a 4.75% rise in the rates.
Some claim the increase, which works out at about £6 a month for a Band D property, is needed to protect the vulnerable in the face of government cuts.
But others argue triggering a £230,000 vote would be a waste of money.
With politicians not making a decision until next month, The Argus is encouraging all our readers to have their say here first.
As well as taking to the streets, we will publish an online poll and voting forms in the paper so residents can indicate how they would vote in any city-wide poll.
Michael Beard, editor of The Argus, said: “For more than 130 years, The Argus has represented the views of local people on issues that matter most.
“The issue of a council tax referendum will have not only a profound impact on our own city, but on the national political landscape.
“It is our aim to create a barometer to guide the city’s leaders through what will be a tempestuous few weeks.”
The announcement, which appeared in Friday’s paper, has become one of our most commented on stories ever, with more than 180 of our online readers having their say.
Dozens more have sent letters to our Hollingbury HQ.
Opinion is split on whether the Greens should increase council tax by more than the Government’s 2% cap as it looks to make £24 million of savings in 2014/15. Any rise above this would automatically trigger a city-wide vote, due to be held on May 22.
Conservative and Labour councillors could unite to throw out the plans, either at the council’s policy and resources committee on February 13 or when the budget is finalised on February 27.
Our roving reporter Charlotte Schroeter launched our survey yesterday by asking 100 people in the bustling North Laine if they would support the rise.
78 residents said they would vote against with just 22 in support.
Brighton resident Delphine Gane, 72, said: “I’m sure they could make savings elsewhere.
“I’m not against paying taxes but I do feel we’re not getting the full picture.
“I don’t want council tax to go up but I can’t make an informed decision.”
Fellow resident Caroline Wallis said: “It’s outrageous.
“The council shouldn’t guilt trip us into affording things.”
The Argus will be asking another 400 residents over the next two days in a series of street surveys.
Tomorrow, Charlotte will be in London Road and St James’s Street before heading to Hollingbury and George Street, Hove on Wednesday.
Don’t miss the results of the street poll so far in The Argus on Thursday.
You can also have your say by filling in the form below, voting by text by sending a message to 80360 with the word SUPIC and your answer.
Alternatively, you can visit our Facebook page or tweet using the hashtag #bhref.
Our final poll of on-street surveys, postal votes and online responses will then be printed in the paper on February 13.
Right click and select Save As on the image below to download your voting form. Postal forms should be returned to Neil Vowles at Argus House, Crowhurst Road, Brighton, BN1 8AR no later than February 7.