COUNCIL tax payers in Kirklees will see their bills rise by 5% from April.
The double-inflation increase was approved by Kirklees Council after a lengthy and heated debate in which the Tories blasted one of the highest increases in the country.
"Since 2001, council tax has gone up by a staggering 37% under the present administration," said the leader of the Conservatives Clr Robert Light.
Budget proposals of almost £280m were approved for the coming financial year. It means more than 75% of householders in the lower council tax valuation bands will face an average rise of 82p a week.
The average household will face an annual bill of just over £892.
Council leader Clr Kath Pinnock (Lib-Dem) said she was confident the new budget would best reflect the needs of the people.
"The council can be satisfied we are investing in our communities and making considerable improvements to the daily lives of our residents," she said.
"I believe we have achieved the right balance between taxation and services - therefore I am confident that this budget is set at the most prudent level possible and that it will continue to ensure good quality services for local people."
The budget plan will see the investment during the next five years including:
* Housing improvements.
* Major reconstruction work on roads.
* Better facilities for children - sporting and educational.
* Major regeneration schemes across the district.
Opposing parties questioned the focus of budget spending and the Liberal Democrats' ability to keep the money being spent from spiralling out of control.
Green Party leader Clr Andrew Cooper said a tax rise of 4.8% was more realistic and greater savings could be achieved.
"We want to see a more realistic budget that reflects the need to improve local services and reduce environmental waste," he said.
Labour leader Clr Mehboob Khan said the budget should protect services allocated to vulnerable members of society.
He attacked the "irresponsible" 50% increase in home care charges, saying they should remain at a fixed rate.
His party also said young people in Kirklees should be given better support.
"It is important to give them better opportunities in life," he said.
However, Clr Pinnock was adamant the budget was community-focused and the spending plan on public services was a real investment.
But Clr Light said: "The tax increase represents one of the highest increases in the whole country.
"This council has always sought for ways to put taxes up to the maximum amount and now Kirklees is facing its biggest financial crisis in history. We need to stop stripping off people's money year after year."
Compromises were made when a majority vote in favour of passing of the budget was not reached.
Changes included Lab- our's plans for free swimming schemes for children in the school holidays and help for older people needing to access public transport. Tory proposals that were accepted included two-day sports festivals in schools and study support for underprivileged students.
Accepted changes from the Green Party included provision for bicycle recycling.