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Want to know how your council tax is being spent?
7:00am Sunday 16th March 2014 in News
As council tax bills drop through letter boxes across Cornwall the council has updated the budget pages on its website to make it easier for local people to see how their money is spent.
The council says that with multi million pound budgets being spent on a wide range of different services, local authority finances have "traditionally been difficult to understand".
Adding: "Although the Council has always done its best to explain to local residents where their money goes, many people in Cornwall have said they have been left confused by the information which has been provided.
The new revised pages on the website can be found at www.cornwall.gov.uk/counciltax2014.
The new section on the website is being supported by the film “Working for Cornwall” which contains a series of stories featuring local residents and businesses showing how the money is being used on the ground - http://www.cornwall.gov.uk/default.aspx?page=36480.
Areas featured in the film include the support which is being provided to support businesses and improve the local economy; the "positive partnership" with town and parish councils; the work of the Highways crews in maintaining Cornish roads and services which help protect public health and safety.
Cornwall Council Leader John Pollard said: “Cornwall Council will be spending £1.14 billion on delivering services to people in Cornwall over the next twelve months. I know that trying to get to grips with the detail of how such a huge amount of money is being spent can be extremely difficult.”
“We hope that watching the film and seeing some of the successes their Council tax helped us to achieve last year will give people a better understanding of how we are using the money we receive to benefit Cornwall. “
The council says that the arrival of the council tax bills generates a large increase in the volume of calls to the council, with many of these calls from people asking the same questions, including how and where they can pay and whether they can apply for a discount, the Council has introduced a new automated telephone system to prevent people from having to wait on the phone for long periods in busy times.
The new automated system, which will be available to all council tax and business rates customers 24 hours a day seven days a week, will mean people will be able choose from a variety of options, including registering for council tax, making a debit or credit card payment, changing the frequency of their payments and setting up a direct debit without the need to wait to speak to a customer services adviser.
The number for the new system, which will be available from is 0300 1234 171.
At the same time the Council is also encouraging local residents to try different ways of paying their council tax bills, by direct debit every month, paying by debit or credit card online, going to their local Council office or Post Office, or by post and standing order.
People can also ‘self serve’ and opt into a paperless e-billing service.
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