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.
During October/November each year, the Finance, Funding and Grants 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:
- Grants – mainly for specific projects
- Hire of the Westwoods Centre – allocated to cover the running costs of the building
- Sale of burial and ashes plots and the erection of headstones in the Cemetery – allocated for maintenance of the Cemetery
- Fees paid by Gloucestershire Highways for verges maintenance – used to offset grass cutting costs
Some income used to come from interest on bank deposits, but sadly no longer!
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 are restricted in what they can spend money on and must account to the auditor the reasons for doing so.