Village spared big parish tax hike

PUBLISHED: 12:30 14 January 2011

(c) Adam Gault

VILLAGERS in Banwell will be spared an increase in their parish precept following a back down by community leaders.

Under pressure from half a dozen residents, councillors made the decision to freeze the £57,805 precept for 2011/12 at a meeting on Monday night.

A week earlier the council had proposed raising the amount £3,850, partly to fund new railings at the recreation ground.

The agreed precept, however, will result in a five per cent rise in parish tax for residents because of the loss of 59 homes to the Hutton parish.

At the start of the meeting, resident Derek Dawes urged councillors to drop their draft budget in the face of the economic climate.

He said: “Being the only parish council in this area which is asking for an increase it is not going to reflect well.

“Times are tough and it doesn’t matter how much money you propose, if you set a precept increase it is going to frighten a lot of people on low incomes.”

One resident said: “You [councillors] said you should tighten your belts, I think you have loosened yours’ so much they are falling around your ankles.”

Councillors then discussed how they could reduce the budget, finding savings in spending on allotments and taking into account a £450 grant the council is expected to get.

But the big decision made by councillors was to remove a £2,400 fund for new railings at the recreation field.

After a vote for the amended budget, which saw five councillors vote for and three against, chairman Liz Shayler said: “We have built in contingencies into the budget to cover the parish expenses this year as best we can.”

The new budget will mean people living in Band D homes will pay £52.51 a year to support parish funds.

This will equate to a 5p increase per household each week.

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