At Monday evening’s (18 January) meeting of the full Town Council Councillors voted unanimously to set the increase in precept for the forthcoming financial year at 3.75%
“Possibly the most difficult budget I have been involved in.” stated Cllr Andrew Ross, chair of the Finance & Policy committee and responsible for all the detailed work involved in setting the precept.
“Setting a precept in unique and uncertain times – with no clue when income streams from council activities will re-commence or return to normal”… “As a result of COVID the tax base has reduced such that an increase of almost 1% (actually 0.81%) just to stand still.” he added when explaining the difficulties involved. The new precept translates to an annual Band D Council Tax figure of £214.11p
“Income has almost disappeared this year whilst costs haven’t” he added, explaining that they wanted to avoid dipping into reserves to keep the precept increase artificially low, which would the easy way, whereas embarking on a detailed line-by-line budgeting exercise could deliver the same result by cutting down on anything that wasn’t absolutely necessary.
“We have tried to set a precept that is both reasonable and acceptable.“ said Cllr Ross. “And this is what we believe we have eventually achieved’.