When your Council Tax bill arrives in March, you will see that the Town Council element of the bill has increased. It will rise to £120.51 per year for an average Band D property, an increase of 38p per week compared to the year prior. An increase is never welcome, especially in the midst of a cost of living crisis. With this in mind we wanted to write to residents to explain what we are doing and why.
Unlike higher tiers of local authority, the Town Council does not receive any central government funding. Most of its income is derived from the precept, which is collected from residents as part of their Council Tax bills. Typically, around one quarter of income is from other sources, such as service fees and charges from the community centre, cemetery, Charter Market, and allotments. We try to secure grants where possible.
Like our residents, the Town Council faces challenges in the cost of living crisis. Inflation is soaring, with staff wages rising by around 7% last year and a further pay award pending, grounds maintenance charges increasing by 15% and electricity by a massive 300%. These are the three largest lines of routine expenditure in the council’s budget.
Another expense this year will be the sports pavilion roof as it has reached the end of its life and needs to be replaced at an estimated cost of around £40,000. Fortunately, the Town Council has built up some earmarked reserves for capital projects such as this, but they won’t cover the entire amount.
Taking all of these factors into account, the Town Council has been faced with a very real dilemma … raise the precept or cut back on local services at a time when our community may need us the most? Closing the sports pavilion is unimaginable, leaving local sports teams and the social clubs who run and use the bar area without a home.
The Town Council would like to reassure residents that the decision to raise the precept was taken after careful consideration. We will continue to strive to do the best for the town and deliver value for money to our residents. After the increase, the Town precept will account for just 5.8% of your Council Tax bill in 2023-34, as most of your tax goes to Gloucestershire County Council for services like health, education, and roads.
A breakdown of Town Council expenditure is given in the following table. If you have any questions, then please get in touch.
Cllrs Terry Morley-Blackwell (Chair), Andrew Wellman (Vice Chair), Gina Blackwell, Valerie Glynn, Sara Gorst, Byron Hadley, Brian Hulcup, Laura Kirkby, Caroline Saunders, and Adam Tattersall.
Northleach with Eastington Town Council
How your Council Tax will be spent in 2023-24:
Staffing £ 60,880
Admin, Civic & Democratic £ 11,046
Community & Grants £ 3,220
Property & Premises £ 20,609
Westwoods Centre £ 23,870
Projects (inc. pavilion roof) £ 44,340
Total gross expenditure £163,966
Other income £ 31,813
Use of reserves £ 35,000
Budget requirement (Precept) £ 97,153
Worried about paying Council Tax?
We know that the cost of living crisis is causing genuine hardship for some. If you’re worried about paying your Council Tax bill then please get in touch with Cotswold District Council via their website www.cotswold.gov.uk or on 01285 623000.
Find out more:
The Town Council publishes its annual accounts and spending information on its website. To find out more please visit: www.northleach.gov.uk.