Kirklees taxpayers are to face a whopping 10% council tax rise over the next two years.
But the massive rise will not stop further huge council cuts which could see some council services such as school crossing patrols lost forever.
Local taxpayers will be hit in the pocket with the double figure rise as Kirklees Council tries to keep its head above the water.
But at the same time councillors have now been told they will have to make a further £104m of savings by 2020/21 – £35m worse than thought a year ago.
The cash-strapped authority’s already bleak finances have got even worse after the government withdrew more funding late last year.
In four years time a stunning £194m will have been taken from the council’s coffers since the coalition government began austerity cuts in 2011/12.
Some of the £104m savings needed had already been implemented over the past few years through cuts to libraries, museums, grass cutting, street cleaning and at Kirklees' five tips.
But almost £87m worth are still to come after government announcements piled on the misery for Kirklees.
Which services will be cut?
Managers are set to take the knife to dozens of services with even crisis-hit social care services having to make dozens of redundancies.
It is thought libraries could be in the firing line again with up to 50 more jobs at risk.
School crossing patrols may have their budget obliterated and could be axed completely.
Street cleaning may be reduced and the stop smoking service is to be scrapped.
Even the bulbs in traffic lights will be changed in a bid to save £50,000.
About 1,000 council jobs will go over the four year period as services are cut to the bone or abandoned completely.
Council leader: Changes will 'transform Kirklees Council forever'
Council leader, Clr David Sheard, said irreversible changes were coming that would transform Kirklees Council forever.
He said: “I can’t see us ever getting back to what we did in the past ever again – unless there’s a massive change to the heart of government.”
Kirklees is now set to agree to imposing the 3% social care tax on top of a 1.99% council tax increase from April.
It will do this two years in a row – bringing in some of the vital millions needed to fund social care.
But for residents it means at least a 10% rise in their council bills over the period on the back of a 4% rise last year.
Clr Sheard said members had found it easy to take up the government’s option of adding a 3% social care tax for the next two years.
“We couldn’t agonise about it at all,” he said.
“If we hadn’t taken it we would have to close some services down and we might not meet our statutory requirements.
“We’ve been spending £800k a week from reserves to balance the books this year.
“If we don’t bring that down the reserves will run out next year.”
Clr Sheard said non-users of social care would be within their rights to be angry but no-one at the council could see any other way of continuing with the funding provided.
“I can’t conceive an alternative way to protect the bits we want to protect,” he said.
“If all we’ve got left running is adult and children’s social care, that’s the way it’ll have to be.
“It’s that bleak.”
Time for people to do more for themselves
Clr Sheard said the council would shrink beyond recognition and people would have to do more for themselves.
He said: “We can’t turn our backs on anything, but we’ve got to look at alternative ways of providing them.
“But some of the services people feel are exceptionally vital will disappear.
“We’ve already cut £129m and then look at our budget compared with every other authority.
“We’re the eighth lowest funded in the country per person and second lowest metropolitan authority."
“We’re traditionally a mean spirited authority – we don’t pay high wages – we are an archetypal Yorkshire authority.
“We’re past salami slicing, taking 10% off a service – the service is going.
“We couldn’t solve the problem by saying everyone’s got to save 10%, it’s gone beyond that.
“We’re saying, ‘What can we stop doing?’.“
Funding crisis: Is the government to blame?
Clr Sheard said he was braced for complaints and protests but said he didn’t think people realised the gravity of the situation.
“I don’t think people have got the message,” he said. “We’re still getting requests about why aren’t we doing this and that.
“People are wanting to bring new services in.
“The government’s pulling back and people are saying the council should make it up.
“They don’t understand how it works.”
Clr Sheard said the funding crisis did make him angry and he felt the government may be under the cosh – even from its own MPs.
He added: “I honestly believe something has got to change in the next 18 months on social care.
“The way we fund social care at the moment is not sustainable especially when we’re not allowed to put the rates up enough to fund it.
“We’ve got 6% over the next two years but then we have to do zero in years three and four.
“The 2% last year didn’t even cover the minimum wage rise for the staff we employ in that service.”
It is thought the 10% will increase council tax for an average band D property by about £68 this year and £80 the following year.