Town council could increase bills in bid to save services

PUBLISHED: 13:00 17 January 2013

Council tax bills are likely to rise for the first time in four years

Council tax bills are likely to rise for the first time in four years

Archant

SAVING threatened services and boosting Weston’s tourism trade are the priorities for the town council in this year’s budget.

Weston Town Council met on Monday to discuss its budget for the financial year 2013/14, and for the first time in four years residents will face an increase in their council tax bills.

The final precept will be agreed at a full meeting of the council on Monday, but it looks likely that the average cost for a band D household with at least two adults will rise from £50.75 to £57.47.

Speaking before the meeting, town clerk Malcolm Nicholson said: “The town council feels that after three years of freezes we must do something to protect services in the town and help the town’s economy.

“We’re at a situation right now where a lot of public services are being cut down and closing unless someone tries to save them and we think as a town council there are certainly things that we can do for the town which are really good value for money, providing better value for them than they are used to.”

The budget includes £70,574 for tourism, with the authority looking to boost visitor numbers to the town through a number of different schemes.

In the budget, which currently stands at £1.524million for 2013/14 but may change before Monday’s meeting, the authority is also looking to take on several services in the town.

A total of £13,948 has been included to continue the provision of flowers in the town after North Somerset withdrew its funding for annual bedding plants, while the town council has also taken on 10 play areas from North Somerset and is hoping to finalise a deal to take on five public toilets.

The council is also looking to maintain youth services in the town centre in the wake of North Somerset’s swingeing cuts, and to provide youth outreach services in Worle.

Although it has not been included in the budget, a proposal by the authority’s Liberal Democrat members to extend the play area facilities at Ashcombe Park will be discussed at a future meeting.

Proposing the idea, Mark Canniford said: “If we can do something up there as good as the water park which would really get the residents going and get people coming here from further away, it would give the council some kudos.”


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