A COUNCILLOR has hit out as an alternative "communities" budget proposal was rejected at a council meeting where the latest council tax rises were agreed.

Bromsgrove Council approved this year's council tax levels and overall budget last week, as a proposal for an alternative budget by the Independent Alliance Group was voted down.

Council tax will now rise by 2.99 per cent for Bromsgrove Council for 2019/20 and the Council's Medium Term Financial Plan (which covers the next four years) will rely on drawing down reserves from the current £4.2 million down to £1.1 million by 2022/23 in order to balance longer term budgets.

Bromsgrove Councillor for Hagley West Steve Colella said: “I’m sorry but the Independent Group dared to be different and tried to show that there could be an alternative to what the district has unfortunately had to get used to by tabling our alternative budget.

"We as Independents proposed plans to invest over £130,000 in local communities each year, by increasing the New Homes Bonus fund for communities to £100,000 and reintroducing a local councillors' community fund for local projects.

"We proposed to push harder on council efficiencies to help fund this; rather than year on year promises of future savings we wanted council officers to actually fulfill their promise of making efficiency savings.

"We wanted the council to be tough on Worcestershire County Council and claw back six figure amounts of tax payer monies Bromsgrove Council has paid for a consultant to do highways work which is ultimately the responsibility of WCC as the highways authority.

"We also recognised the need for better parking control across the district, we wanted to reflate the reserves to almost £3m and we looked to the future with a major investment proposal to protect the council and improve the district.

"Unfortunately, what we got was the same old promises, year on year tax rises, continued acute traffic congestion, unsustainable development and the reality of a very precarious future.

"We asked that everyone from all sides should support this budget and now wasn’t the time for party politics, we must do what we can to make sure the council has something for Bromsgrove residents to be proud of and something visionary.

"Instead both political parties seemed to find any thought of the offer of an alternative future for Bromsgrove funny. I think they thought they were in Parliament and copied the unsavoury rhetoric seen on TV.

"It’s very clear to me that politics will kill Bromsgrove and it’s time that we dare to be different otherwise, we will continue to run the council on a knife edge with tribal politics rearing it’s ugly head at every opportunity.”