THE Council Tax increase needed to fund Cheshire's Fire and Rescue Service is being kept down to 1.5%.
Service bosses say the aim is to limit the impact on taxpayers.
The increase is less than £1-a-year for a Band D home but fire chiefs say it will still allow them to invest in new projects, including recruitment in rural areas.
At the latest meeting of the Fire Authority, members set the organisation's budget for 2007-08 and agreed to the 1.5% rise in Council Tax - an increase of 93p-a-year for a Band D property.
Authority chairman Tony Hooton said it had been possible to keep the increase down thanks to a combination of strong financial management in recent years together with a good grant settlement from the Gover nment.
And he revealed the budget would still see developments including:
* Seven new community safety advocates appointed
* £115,000 to provide improved protective equipment
* £50,000 to increase part-time advocates and home safety assessments in rural areas
Mr Hooton said: 'This is a good news budget for communities across Cheshire, Halton and Warrington.
'The organisation's overall budget for 2006-07 of £38.9m can be financed by limiting Council Tax to £61 on a Band D property.'
Chief fire officer Steve McGuirk said the increase would be among the lowest of any fire authority in the country.
He said: 'I am confident that this good financial management combined with the hard work of our staff will soon see us independently ranked as one of the most efficient and effective services in the country.'
Residents' overall Council Tax bills are made up of money needed to fund local councils, Cheshire Police and Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service.