MAJOR investments to protect local communities and frontline firefighters are planned by Cheshire Fire Authority over the next year – despite limiting the increase needed in its Council Tax level to under 3%.
The increase is equivalent to just £1.90 a year more for a Band D home – or 3.6p per week extra – but fire chiefs say it will still allow them to invest in new projects.
State-of-the-art protective clothing for firefighters and a complete replacement of breathing apparatus sets are scheduled, together with £150,000 to maintain the successful home safety assessment programme which offers advice and free smoke alarms to residents. At this month’s meeting of the Fire Authority, members set the organisation’s budget for 2010/11 at £43.4m and agreed to a 2.94% rise in Council Tax – putting the amount needed from a Band D home up from £64.53 to £66.43.
Fire Authority chair Cllr David Topping said it had been possible to keep the increase down thanks to more than £800,000 of efficiencies and savings.