Tax precept to rise by over 10 per cent
Chippenham Town Council may increase its council tax precept by 10.28 per cent to deal with a £65,000 cut.
Leader of the council David Powell insists the council is still very good value for money, with its services each week costing less than a pint of beer at £2.90.
The recommendation for the increase came from the town council’s strategy and resources committee last month and will be decided at a full council meeting on Wednesday, January 15.
It would mean next year Band D homes in Chippenham would pay an extra 27p a week or £14.06 a year, bringing the annual bill to £150.92 per household.
Coun Powell said the town council was in a very difficult financial position after government reforms meant Wiltshire Council had to reduce its support grant for unpaid council tax to all town and parish councils last November.
For Chippenham Town Council, the 35 per cent cut in grant equates to a loss of about £65,000 from the budget.
The council’s finance officer said without the 10.28 per cent hike in the precept, there would be no £18,000 maintenance of the town and Neeld Halls, no £3,000 replacement of Christmas lights and no £40,000 splash pad for John Coles Park.
Coun Powell, who favoured a larger increase of 15.5 per cent, said: “We’ve got to go on providing services for a town of 45,000 people that is rapidly growing, and we want those services and facilities to be good quality.
“Some are excellent but others need development, notably the Neeld and town halls which are not really fit for purpose but there is a wish among councillors to improve things.
“Set against that is the most difficult financial situation this and previous councils have experienced. We’ve got ambitions, but we’re bound by finance.”
Among these aspirations is taking over Monkton Park.
He said: “We’ve been in discussions on and off with Wiltshire Council over the last 12 months but that’s down the line now. It’s unlikely to happen in the next year.”
Councillors also expressed an interest in taking over the town’s library building, should a new library be incorporated in the Chippenham Campus building at Monkton Park.
The precept covers the running costs of the town council, which maintains the town hall, John Coles Park, Stanley Park, London Road Cemetery, the community and visitor information centre, the heritage centre, Neeld Hall, bowling green, bus station toilet, Christmas lights and floral displays, among other things.
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