Town budget - no tax rise for residents

PUBLISHED: 07:00 18 January 2012 | UPDATED: 10:45 18 January 2012

The council passed the budget at town hall on Monday

The council passed the budget at town hall on Monday

Archant

THERE will be no council tax increase from Weston Town Council residents over the next financial year after it passed its new budget.

The authority’s budget will remain at £1,176,234, and although that figure may rise as the council takes on the running of new services, hard-up ratepayers will not see council tax bills increase.

Weston Town Council passed the budget at its meeting on Monday, meaning the rate for a band D household will be £43.62 - 15p less than last year.

The budget may increase if the town council takes on the running of parks and recreation grounds from North Somerset Council later this year.

But this would not mean a rise in tax as North Somerset would transfer £204,000 which it already raises for their maintenance from people in Weston.

Council leader Keith Morris said: “I frankly take pleasure in supporting this budget. We have had a hard year but all things considered we have done exceptionally well.”

At the meeting concerns were raised over Barcode youth cafe – which costs 11.5 times more money than the income it brings in – and allotments, where expenditure is 22 times greater than income. Although both were included in the budget, the council is likely to look at ways of cutting those costs over the next year.

Although Liberal Democrat and Labour councillors agreed with the majority of the budget, the council’s LibDem group voiced its dissatisfaction that a residents’ fun pass for certain facilities, such as Weston Museum and the water park, had not been included.

Officers are currently looking into four separate schemes to offer schemes for Weston residents, but a LibDem proposal to include a free pass in principle was voted down, while other budget amendments were also not adopted.

One LibDem councillor, Clare Kingsbury-Bell, said: “Our priority as a town council should be to provide the best service we can for residents. A residents’ fun pass, which would encourage hundreds more local families to visit and engage with our services should be in the budget.

“Museums across the country clearly benefit from free entry - families pour through the doors, spend more in the shops, stop for lunch and afternoon tea and most importantly are free to benefit from facilities their council tax has paid for in the first place.”

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