Town precept up 24 per cent
RESIDENTS in Portishead could be paying much more for their services this year - after the town council proposed an increase in its precept of nearly 24 per cent. Liberal Democrat councillors are recommending a budget for the year 2007/8 of £375,897 - an
RESIDENTS in Portishead could be paying much more for their services this year - after the town council proposed an increase in its precept of nearly 24 per cent.Liberal Democrat councillors are recommending a budget for the year 2007/8 of £375,897 - an increase of approximately 14 pence per week and £84,737 up on last year.Much of the extra cash will be ploughed into providing more community facilities in the town, with £70,000 being earmarked for amenities at the Village Quarter.A total of £30,000 has been earmarked for new equipment at children's play areas at the Lake Grounds and across the town and a further £45,000 for a new skatepark.Cash was also put aside towards the cost of putting together a residents' survey, with the results being used to form a parish plan.Councillors said the large increase was needed in the precept to ensure better facilities for the people of Portishead.Councillor John H Clark said: "The standard of living is not just about pounds, shillings and pence, it is also what is provided in the public realm."But the move to introduce such a big hike in the town council budget - at the same time North Somerset Council is proposing a four per cent increase - has not been welcomed by all. Conservative members of the council said the increase was unacceptably high and put forward an alternative budget with no increase on last year's precept.Councillor Barry Walters said: "We believe that the projected increase is not only excessive but also unnecessary."We take the view that people should not be taxed unless there is a clear and immediate reason for spending the money."There is no doubt in general that the relative levels of council tax are driving down the standards of living, especially for pensioners and people on low incomes." The proposed budget will be discussed again at a meeting of Portishead and North Weston Town Council tonight (Wed) before a final decision is reached.