RESIDENTS should get used to a five per cent council tax increase - because city chiefs could impose a similar hike in 12 months time.

City of York Council bosses are considering following this year's 5.49 per cent rise with a 4.5 per cent increase in 2007/2008, documents have revealed.

As council leader Steve Galloway warned increasing cash pressures on services would have to be picked up by the taxpayer, a report to a meeting of its

ruling executive on February 17 shows that could mean at least a 4.5 per cent rise next year.

The report states: "While the average options provide a target range for the 2007/2008 council tax increase of between 4.5 to 5.5 per cent, the council should continue to look to balance current and future expenditure pressures with the city's position as the lowest spending unitary authority.

"As such, the council should continue to seek to maximise its income levels, both in terms of central Government funding and the levels of council tax yield it secures."

Meanwhile, Coun Galloway said the Government's intransigence in handing over £1.25 million in grants has contributed to the 100 posts which have been axed in council departments.

"If we had the £1.25 million extra, we would have been entitled to think some of the likely redundancies wouldn't have taken place," he said.

Coun Galloway revealed the council was beginning to run out of ways of making efficiency savings, should there be another tough budget in the years ahead.

"We will eventually struggle to find genuine efficiency savings. Then you have to cut core services, which means discretionary services," he said.

"We will be looking in depth at all departments at the council over the next few months. We will deliver another balanced budget. We won't pretend that doesn't mean an increase in charges of one sort or another."

Coun Galloway also announced that York's new super bus, the FTR, will hit the city's streets in May.

"That standard of public transport will be available over the whole city within the next five years," he said.

Updated: 10:44 Tuesday, February 14, 2006