Villagers to pay more to protect community services

PUBLISHED: 14:00 07 January 2011

(c) Adam Gault

VILLAGE leaders are bucking the austerity trend of savings and cutbacks by attempting to protect community services through a seven per cent rise in parish tax.

Banwell Parish Council is proposing to raise its total precept by £3,850, which amounts to an 12p per week increase for most households.

The change means residents in Band D homes would pay £1 a week to support parish funds.

The proposed rise in tax is to generate a £3,000 cash pot to compensate community services axed due to North Somerset Council cut-backs.

It is also being increased to make up for the loss of 50 homes to the Hutton parish because of a boundary change in April.

Clerk Kevin Barrett said: “We are planning a small increase in the precept due to a number of reasons including the fact we are losing 50 taxpayers in April.

“It means everyone will have to pay that little bit more to make up for the money we will lose out on.

“There is also a feeling among councillors that it would be wise to add a bit more to the local precept so we have the necessary funds to cover some services which North Somerset Council cannot provide any more.”

Mr Barrett highlighted fencing around the recreational ground in the village could be one project the extra funds could go toward.

He added: “It is just £1 a week and while that may not be a huge amount we understand that at this current time any extra outgoing may be unpopular.”

The draft budget has come under fire from ward councillor Tim Marter, who has urged residents to voice their opposition to the proposed precept increase.

He said: “If every public body is cutting back during this tough period of austerity, why aren’t we? While people have less money to spend and are cutting back on outgoings we should be making life easier, not lumping more tax on their monthly bills.

The parish council is set to make a decision on the draft budget at a meeting in the village hall in Westfield Road at 7.30pm on Monday.

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