Thousands of households will be better off this year after Adur District Council took the decision to cut council tax by one per cent.
The official announcement came tonight at a full council meeting and came completely out of the blue for some of those gathered in the chamber.
It is the first time in four years the local authority has decided to reduce taxes for residents having taken the decision to freeze rates in the previous three.
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The one per cent cut will reduce bills for a Band D home - valued between £68,001 and £88,000 - from £1,516.41 a year to £1,497.25 a year and according to council leader Neil Parkin, is a testament to the hard work of its members.
“As a Conservative controlled council, we believe in low taxes,” he said. “After freezing council tax for three successive years, I am now absolutely delighted that this year we are able to cut it by one per cent.
“The council has worked hard over the last few years to reduce our costs in the face of the government's austerity plan and still deliver the services that our resident's value.
"This year we have managed to balance our budget and have some money left over, which we are giving back to our residents.”
According to the latest figures, Adur District Council has saved more than £13 million in seven years, working in partnership with Worthing Borough Council.
Among the major savings made is a 56 per cent drop in management costs with a new structure expected to cost £807,960 in the next year compared with £2.2 million in 2007/08.
It was also claimed that Adur is the only council in West Sussex that has reduced tax bills in the past four years.
Coun Parkin added: “We hope this is the first of many reductions.”