RESIDENTS in Conwy county face a five percent increase in council tax in the coming 12 months.

Conwy County Borough Council decided last week to make the increase because Welsh Assembly funding leaves the authority £11.3 short in balancing its budget for the financial year 2018 to 2019, starting at the beginning of April .

Cllr Sam Rowlands, cabinet member for finance and resources told councillors at a full council meeting, the authority has three courses of action it could take to balance the budget.

It could reduce expenditure by £6 million; raise council tax by five per cent, which would bring in an extra £2.7 million of revenue, and the the remainder of the shortfall could be made up from council reserves.

The proposals have been the subject of some controversy within the authority and with the public. The draft budget had already been considered by the authority's cabinet and finance and resources overview and scrutiny committee before being recommended to the full council for approval.

Cllr Rowlands explained the current financial problems will continue into the future, he said: “There are some significant challenges coming up in the following financial year when there will be an estimated shortfall of £13 million.”

Members heard every department of the council has had to make economies, and even so cash from the authority's reserves would have to be drawn down.

The report the committee considered, which set out in detail the budget proposals, stated: "The approved revenue business cases included in the overall budget, which financially support services to our most vulnerable, will provide a more resilient services in respect of social services, specialised education services, and homelessness."

Cllr Goronwy O Edwards stated: “The government needs to look to itself, does it want us to continue to deliver services to our residents, or does it want us to hand the keys back and do it itself.

“It is a sad day that local government, which works so hard for its residents is not resourced by government to do the job in the proper manner."

Cllr Abdul Khan said after the meeting: “We have had to face difficult choices and have had to raise council tax by five per cent in order to continue providing services, and we've dome all we can to protect services to vulnerable people.

"We have had no choice because we have had less from the Welsh Assembly, so to balance the books council tax will have to be raised.

“Even so our council tax rate is considerably less than in our neighbouring counties.”

The increase would mean a £55.63 annual increase for D band properties, raising the tax payable from £1112.69 to $1168.32.

Council members decided to accept the measures proposed to bridge the £11.3 million gap and approved the budget proposals.

Conwy is one of four local authorities in Wales with the lowest settlement from the Welsh Assembly.