Cash-starved Central Regional Council is poised to axe 200 jobs and increase the poll tax by between £20 and £35 a year.
Services could also be cut to keep within the Government’s spending levels.
The regional council will fix the new poll tax on January 27 but insiders have warned that the increase could be as much as a staggering 20 per cent. If this is approved, the charge will rise from £187 a year to around £225. Members of the ruling Labour group are trying to keep the increase down to around £20 but a warning that a bigger rise is on the way came from Labour group leader, Councillor Corrie McChord.
He said: ‘‘ The residents of Central Region are going to have to pay through the nose.
‘‘I hold out no great hopes of a low poll tax next year.’’
Councillor McChord also announced that a voluntary early retirement scheme for council employees is to be introduced in a bid to cut costs.
Details have still to be negotiated with the unions but it is hoped that up to 200 people will give up their job.
The projected budget of £232 million is £4.5 million over Government spending limits.