Council bosses have to find £1.5million to plug a budget gap by 2022.

Maldon District Council’s annual budget will see council tax increased by 2.3 per cent – £4.43 a year.

While other councils across Essex have taken the opportunity to raise council tax by three per cent, the Maldon feels it has increased its levy by enough.

Director of resources Emma Foy, said: “We were allowed to increase up to three per cent.

“This is the stance being taken by the majority of other district councils in Essex.

“The Maldon District Council element makes up 11 per cent of the total residents’ bills, therefore due to the increases proposed by Essex County Council and the police, fire and crime commissioner, bills will still increase for residents.”

As part of this year’s budget, Maldon District Council has agreed to maintain the Smoke and Fire Festival in Promenade Park as well as the car show and mud race.

The council is going through major changes which could see job losses, as well as being in the middle of a recruitment freeze.

Since 2015 the council’s central government support has been slashed.

Around £1.3million in funding has been taken from the council, on top of more than £3million that was lost a decade ago.

However, Maldon District Council said it was proud “no frontline services to the public have been withdrawn as part of these cuts”.

Miss Foy added: “In August 2018, councillors approved the business case for full council transformation which will generate significant savings of £1.6million over three years. This requires significant IT investment and will provide more 24 hour-a-day, seven days a week online services to residents than are currently provided with a smaller staffing establishment.

“2020 brings further uncertainty as a new fairer funding system and there is a full reset of business rates.

“Central government is consulting on these modifications currently and Maldon District Council will be responding in full to ensure that we maximise our share of funding to provide services for residents.”