Residents in Dartford will see no increase in this year’s Borough Council tax after Members of the Council agreed to freeze rates for the second year running at a meeting on Monday night.

Confirming the proposal, Leader of the Council Jeremy Kite said: “We’re pleased to be freezing our part of Council Tax again. It will be the ninth time in recent years that we have done so and I expect us to be one of the few local councils not to increase charges this year.

“We’re not cutting any services, in fact we are extending and enhancing many of the things we do and will continue to invest in facilities and communities.”

The Council is launching the fourth of its Big Bin Votes to secure residents’ views before extending its waste contract later this year. Dartford Borough Council is one of few councils to maintain a weekly bin service and it remains committed to weekly collections. The Council is also introducing a new option for households that would like to recycle more.

Cllr Kite added: “We listen to residents all the time and it is clear that a growing number are finding that their recycling bin is full by collection day. We don’t think that people want to lose their normal weekly bin collections so we have come up with a common-sense solution that meets everybody’s needs.

“Some councils can be quite awkward when it comes to extra waste left next to a bin but we recognise that if people are trying to do the right thing by recycling more then it makes sense to help them, not get in the way. So we are now proposing far more capacity by taking recyclables if they are bagged up and left by bins. We will even provide the bags so residents don’t have to worry about that.”

The Leader also pledged that the year ahead would see a focus on street cleansing and tackling fly-tipping with a proposal to create a portal for residents interested in engaging with local green volunteering. Launching the council’s ‘Spring Litter Blitz’ Cllr Kite welcomed the great response from the public.

He said: “When money is tight councils can too quickly cut back on things like street cleansing but it’s a false economy. We’ve proudly gone back to putting traditional stere-cleansing crews with brooms and carts back on our streets and residents are telling us how much they appreciate them. I’m very grateful to our crews. The work they do is hard and time-consuming but it’s clearly making a difference.”

The Council’s playground programme will accelerate in the year ahead with a new tranche of play funding earmarked for communities around the borough.

Cllr Kite added: “Of course, the bigger play spaces we’ve created like Buccaneer Bay and Hesketh Park will always capture the headlines but we know that some of the most valuable family play experiences happen in small neighbourhood playing areas. Some councils neglect smaller play areas but we are determined to modernise and make them more accessible. I look forward to working with local communities and representatives to make our plans a reality.”

Jeremy also confirmed that DBC will continue to supplement the KCC school holiday voucher scheme for the remainder of 2023. He said: “Our help was intended to be for one year only but it is clear that it is making a huge difference for families so we have found a way to extend our support through 2023. It will mean families in Dartford eligible for Free School Meals will see the value of the vouchers they receive doubled.”