HALTON Council has announced cuts of £3.8m to keep this year's Council Tax rise to a minimum.
Council chiefs blame a tough settlement from central Government.
The budget for 2007-8, which will see the average household pay an extra 50p a week due to a
3.9% rise in Council Tax, is expected to be rubber stamped by the full council at a meeting on March 7.
The £95m budget will leave Band D Council Tax payers with a bill of £1,043 - an increase of £39 before parish, police and fire precepts are added.
Half of the borough's properties fall in Band A, which will see an increase in Council Tax of £31.75 per year.
The 3.9% rise means Halton's Council Tax remains the third lowest in the North West.
Council leader Tony McDermott said: 'It's not been easy to get where we are. No-one likes to see any increase at all but when you look at our settlement, what we have come up with is commendable.'
Cllr Mike Wharton added: 'We predicted 12 months ago that this budget would be problematic. The needs of service users and Council Tax payers have been protected. Savings have had to be made due to a tough settlement from Government.
'Front-line services have been protected and we are investing more in services to protect the most vulnerable and needy in the borough.'
Opposition councillors from the Liberal Democrats have called on the council to keep Council Tax increases to a minimum by freezing councillor's allowances and slashing the £931,000 spent on advertising, marketing and promotion last year by 15%.
Cllr Diane Inch said: 'The rise should be kept in line with inflation to ensure that people on pensions - 30% of Halton households - and hard-working families are not disadvantaged. Following the unfair Government settlement, every effort must be made to reduce any increase.'
This year's cuts in the Children and Young People directorate amount to more than £536,000, including the loss of seven administrative posts.
Reductions in posts and cuts in grants to the voluntary sector will save a further £795,000.
Casualties include the Citizens Advice Bureau and the Relation-ship Centre for Domestic Violence Support.
Cllr Allan Massey said: 'We're one of the most effective councils in this country and that's why we can construct a budget with only a 3.9% increase.' email@example.com