WIRRAL'S ruling Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition unveiled a zero increase in council tax for the coming year as details of its budget were revealed.
Council leader Jeff Green said it was the first time for many years the authority had been able to produce a balanced budget.
But it follows cuts now confirmed at 1,100 staff from the council – many of them frontline jobs – and was described by Labour leader Steve Foulkes as a “sad night for Wirral”.
Unveiling the full budget plans Cllr Green emphasised twin priorities of boosting business and protecting the vulnerable.
The budget resolution passed by cabinet on Monday night will now be presented to a full meeting of Wirral Council next Tuesday for final approval.
Among the policies to support business were a "free after three" parking on the council’s on and off street parking from Monday to Friday.
Also among the high-profile investments planned is £2.8m on solar energy – creating "mini power stations" of some council buildings which it is expected could reduce power costs and even earn a small amount of income.
At the budget cabinet meeting in Wallasey town hall, Cllr Green said they had "avoided the crisis management seen in other local authorities" and maintained reserves at £14m.
A “Keeping it Local” initiative is expected to boost local traders.
Other measures include a “Business Angels” scheme to help small and medium sized businesses, and grants to clean up Wirral's town and shopping centres.
Cllr Green, head of the ruling Conservative/Lib-Dem coalition, also announced continued funding for Surestart centres and extra grants to buy new equipment, and a Stop Gap service for children in care moving into adulthood, along with a new “youth hub” in Birkenhead.
Other grants will see £20,000 for weekend football for clean-ups of pitches, and £40,000 for weekend inspection and clean-ups of children’s play areas. Allotments will receive £50,000 for improvements to new and existing sites. Other announcements included extending the 20mph zones in residential areas and around schools.