SOUTH Somerset has set its residents the highest average council tax in the county after budgets were recently approved.

Council taxes are set to rise across the board with increases from all district councils, as well as fire service, police and the county council.

Council tax is typically paid in ten monthly instalments from April to January.

Somerset County Council approved a 2.99 per cent rise in its council tax - with an extra one per cent solely for adult social care.

This means the Band D (average) rate it will receive will be £1,239.73 a year.

Last month, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, gave the green light to a maximum council tax rise in a bid to avoid ‘even direr straits’ in the future.

It set the Band D rate at £86.51 – a rise of £2.51 from the previous year

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner raised its precept by £24 this year, putting it at £21.78 a month for a Band D property.

Ms Mountstevens said: “I fully understand that this is a big increase for households. It was not an easy decision.

“However, I have to balance the challenges facing policing - the increased threat from criminality and the safety of residents.”

South Somerset was the last district council to approve its budget, which was passed by the full council in Yeovil on Tuesday evening (February 26).

South Somerset’s portion of the council tax will rise to £167.11 a year for Band D properties – a rise of 2.85 per cent.

Town and parish councils in the district are expected to charge an average of £91.05 a year – up by 4.48 per cent on the previous year.

The total annual bill for Band D residents is £1,802.22 – or £180.22 per month.

A spokesman for SSDC said: “Different councils provide different services and a simple figure does not tell you what you get for your money.

“We are very proud of the services we offer in South Somerset. This is a council which has sought to protect services our communities tell us they value with investment in community health, leisure, countryside and arts.

“There has also been significant investment in the local environment - reflected in the multiple awards such as Britain in Bloom - and our housing and homelessness service which is helping some of our most vulnerable residents and received national recognition for what it delivers in preventing homelessness.

“We are also planning exciting regenerations projects in towns like Chard to boost the town centre.

“The council has also kept tax increases down this decade.

"Tax has been set below the maximum permitted without a referendum consistently and this included no increase in 2011/12, 12/13, 13/14, 14/15 and a 1.99% reduction in 2015/16.

“Significant and innovative work also continues to be undertaken by the Council to maintain a balanced budget through our ambitious Transformation programme and Commercial Strategy.”

Mendip District Council’s share of the council tax will rise by £5 in 2019/20 to £156.61 for Band D households – a rise of 3.3 per cent.

With these and the other authorities’ figures taking into account, the total annual bill for Band D residents is £1747.34 – or £174.73 per month.

This is £5.49 less than SSDC every month.

Sedgemoor District Council set its budget for 2019/20 in Bridgwater on February 20, just an hour or so after the county council had made a final decision.

Somerset West and Taunton Council will officially replace Taunton Deane Borough Council and West Somerset Council on April 1.

The shadow full council set its first ever budget in Taunton last week, including moves to harmonise the council tax of the two current districts.

In 2018/19, Taunton Deane’s Band D taxpayers paid £152.88 per month in council tax, while West Somerset residents paid £155.56.

Under the approved budget, residents of both areas will pay £157.88 a year - a rise of 3.27 per cent for Taunton Deane, but only 1.49 per cent for West Somerset. Town and parish councils in the new district are predicted to ask for an average of £37.42 a year.

Somerset West and Taunton residents are looking at a total Band D bill of £174.11 per month.

This is Somerset’s lowest, and £6.11 a month less than SSDC.