COUNCILLORS are being asked to approve an investment of more than £145m in frontline services and major development projects when they meet tomorrow.

Members of Durham County Council will also discuss a 1.99 per cent increase in band D council tax as well as a two per cent increase to the adult social care precept.

The increase across County Durham equates to a £1.22 per week rise for band D properties and an 81p per week increase for the majority of council taxpayers, who live in band A properties. The authority has said it has “wide-ranging plans” to invest more than £145m in frontline services and major development projects.

A range of new capital schemes are set out in the budget, including investment in leisure facilities across the county, investment in schools and further capital spending on highways and major transport schemes.

Councillor Simon Henig, leader of Durham County Council, said: “One of our key strategies since the beginning of austerity has been to protect frontline services as far as is possible and it is those same services that we are now prioritising for investment. These are the services that are important to local communities and, for the first time in more than a decade we have some funding available to reinvest locally.

“I am pleased that, despite the very challenging financial period, including the scale and sustained level of government spending cuts and the uncertainty over future funding levels, that, through robust financial planning, we are now able to make a significant investment.”

The proposals include additional investment of £5m in highway maintenance, a proportion of which will be spent on repairing potholes.

A further £1m has been set aside for the creation of a pilot scheme to increase the availability of social housing.

There are plans to spend £5m setting up four teams to focus on sprucing up communities and tackling anti-social behaviour will include the recruitment of 11 additional neighbourhood wardens.

Efforts to tackle climate change will be boosted by an additional £3m to secure the support of private and public sector organisations. Sport and leisure services will benefit from a further boost, with £2m to enhance library services, including an investment in the book fund.

Cllr Alan Napier, deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for finance, said: “There continues to be significant uncertainty over the resources available to local government over the medium to longer-term, which makes accurate planning extremely difficult.

“Nevertheless, it is important that we continue to invest in our services whenever the opportunity presents itself in order to address the priorities of residents, meet changing demands and ensure services are as robust as possible for the future.”