CHARD town councillor Jill Shortland believes the county council is set to face another 'very tough year' of budget cuts from Central Government.

Cllr Shortland, who serves as Somerset County Council's portfolio holder for finance, said there would be the stark choice between whether to cut services and keep Council Tax at an affordable level of increase tax bills.

"The county council is striving to strike a balance between protecting those on fixed or low incomes on the one hand and protecting those people who depend on our services on the other," she said.

The council is now asking residents for their views on what the authority's spending priorities should be for the 2005-06 financial year.