THOUSANDS of households in Sefton could see their tax bills frozen – but more than £35m is set to be slashed from services affecting children, the elderly and the vulnerable.
Sefton council’s draft budget for the next financial year will see council tax for a Band D property remain at £1,484.66 before fire and police demands are added.
But taxpayers will see the level of service provided by the cash- strapped council shrink as swathes of cuts are made from all areas of the authority.
As previously revealed, burial costs, sports pitch rents and care bills are all set to rise when councillors sign off the cuts on Thursday.
Under the two-year budget – from 2013 to 2015 – proposed cuts include closing day centres, reducing the number of residential beds for children in care, freezing workers’ pay and turning off street lights.
A final decision on the future of seven closure-threatened libraries will be made at a cabinet meeting just hours before the Labour- controlled council meets at Bootle town hall.
Council leader Cllr Peter Dowd said: "Right up until a week before the meeting, we have been going out and talking to people and listening to their views on the issues before we make decisions.
"It is not over until it is over."
In November, politicians gave the green light to £15m of savings, taking the total cuts made by the council to £50m.
A report listing the cuts told councillors how the "combined savings will have a significant impact on Sefton communities".
The authority had already culled £64m from its budget over the previous two years.
Cllr Peter Papworth, leader of Sefton’s Conservative group, revealed his party was unlikely to challenge the cuts and praised officers for producing "practical" and "compassionate" savings.
Though he admitted the cuts would be "painful", Cllr Papworth told the ECHO: "The party is unlikely to oppose the Labour party’s proposals because we recognise they have, broadly speaking, acted in a sensible way." In an attempt to reduce the effects of the cuts, Sefton council plans to create two £1m funds to help volunteers take over some services.
Liberal Democrat group leader Iain Brodie-Browne said he strongly opposed the closure of libraries and increase in burial and cremation fees.
He said: "On a range of issues, Labour has made the wrong choices.
"More imaginative and better ways need to be found."