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Council votes to put up its share of tax
3:29pm Tuesday 22nd January 2013 in Trowbridge
TROWBRIDGE Town Council has agreed to increase its part of households’ council tax bills by 2.2 per cent in the 2013/14 budget.
During Tuesday’s town council meeting at the Civic Centre, the motion was passed in a close recorded vote, with 10 voting in favour and six against.
Cllr Graham Payne put forward a rejected amendment, backed by Cllr Peter Fuller, that there be no increase and that funds from the council’s reserves be used to make up any shortfall.
Cllr Payne said: “These economic times are impeding on everybody and it is morally reprehensible to put up charges for the public that don’t need to be.”
During the meeting he produced documents showing that, in the 2002/03 budget, council tax for Band D properties was £58.94 a month.
The equivalent monthly cost for Band D properties in the 2013/14 budget would be £122.63.
In 2012/13, the monthly charge for Band D has been £119.93, which means an increase of £2.70 in the next financial year.
Councils in Wiltshire, like all councils across the country, have seen their council tax income fall for 2013/14, as people who get full council tax support are not now included in the precept figures.
This means the Trowbridge Town Council Band D council tax base has fallen from from 11,000 to 9,352 bill payers.
These changes, brought in by the Government, were not confirmed until November, when many town and parish councils had already prepared next year’s precept levels.
Wiltshire Council has decided to cover the £300,000 shortfall in the funding from Westminster.
Town councillor Jeff Osborn said: “We have to be aware of the need to have money in reserve, as inflation is only going to increase. Thanks to Wiltshire Council, they gave us money, but we have no guarantee they will do it again in future.”
The meeting also heard concerns raised by the public about the maintenance of Trowbridge Park by Wiltshire Council.
English Landscapes Maintenance currently do the work as part of a multi-park contract, but it was revealed that the town council is in talks to take over the upkeep.
Cllr Payne said: “It is difficult to say how much the maintenance would cost but if the town council tendered for the contract it is quite likely costs would go up. If the town council want to take the park over they would have to consider the benefits and the potential costs.”
Town clerk Lance Allan said: “We are working with Wiltshire Council regarding an appropriate settlement towards those maintenance costs.”
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