Funding gap crisis in Sedgemoor

COUNCIL tax for residents in Cheddar, Wedmore and Axbridge could be raised in a bid to plug a funding gap.

COUNCIL tax for residents in Cheddar, Wedmore and Axbridge could be raised in a bid to plug a funding gap.

Sedgemoor District Council has the challenging task of making up the money for the April 2008 financial year after a decrease in funding from central Government.

The gap has to be closed to deliver a balanced budget and a final decision as to how this will be achieved is expected at the full council meeting on February 13.

Between now and February, politicians from all parties will be asked to put their decisions forward.

Proposals include:

* Delivering services with less people

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* Reducing grants given to other community bodies

* Selling land and property that is no longer needed or is becoming difficult or costly to maintain

* Raising money by charging market rates for services

* Efficiency savings

* Transferring functions to local provision, ie, parish and town councils

* Increasing council tax

* Stopping some of the services the district council currently delivers

An on-going consultation with the public was opened on October 29 and results will be fed into the decision making process.

Budget consultation kiosks have been sent up in post offices around the district and a public meeting was held in Cheddar Methodist Hall in Cliff Street on November 19.

Every £1 that taxpayers give is divided as below:

* Somerset County Council- 72.9p

* Sedgemoor District Council- 8.8p

* Avon and Somerset Police- 11.1p

* Devon and Somerset Fire- 4.8p

* Town and Parish Councils- 2.4p

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