Parish and Town councils are separate legal bodies, responsible for their own finances. They receive their funding by making an annual charge, called a precept. The precept is collected from local residents by Cotswold District Council (CDC) as part of the Council tax.
The Finance Committee calculates the expected spend for the following year and recommends a budget to the full Council. This determines the sum that is requested from CDC. The precept is paid to the Town Council in two parts in April and October each year.
CDC must raise whatever precept is requested by the Town Council, but questions would be asked by CDC and auditors if it differed significantly from previous years. And questions would be asked by tax-paying residents!
The precept is the Town Council’s main source of income. Other income comes from:
- Hire of the Westwoods Centre
- Cemetery: Sale of burial plots and the erection of headstones
- Grants – mainly for specific projects
In Northleach (as with most small town councils), the major part of the budget goes on grass cutting and maintenance of the town’s trees, verges and open spaces, management of the cemetery, and staff salaries. All Parish and Town Councils must spend money in accordance with their legal powers and duties and account to the auditor the reasons for doing so.