Weston council tax will remain the same – but local authority grant funding will keep reducing
PUBLISHED: 07:00 26 January 2017
Fears have been raised that Weston Town Council will face a shortage in its reserves in the future if it does not put council tax up to cover the loss of local authority grants.
The Conservative-led town council voted on Monday to keep its precept the same as last year, which is £66.57 for the average band D home.
But the town council will lose more of its grant funding from North Somerset Council this year.
The town council was given £207,300 in 2014/15, but it is expecting to receive £123,546 in 2017/18 – £83,754 less than three years ago.
Cllr Peter Crew said Weston-super-Mare’s council was making preparations for the grant reduction by paying £75,000 a year into its reserves.
But Liberal Democrat Mark Canniford said council tax should rise instead, and added: “It is disingenuous to suggest we need to put in reserves to cover revenue problems of future years. Clearly we have to increase council tax to cover the amount being cut by North Somerset.
“Instead it is being slipped into reserves, and in about three years reserves will be short because they had to take it out. It is not a good business way of doing it, and it will come back and bite you.”
As well the suggested change to the reserves, the Liberal Democrat group proposed to repair lighting on the seafront, pay for the Grove Park war memorial to be fixed and for the cost of museum shop stock to rise from £7,000 to £12,000.
The Labour group’s proposed changes to the budget included giving homeless charity Somewhere To Go £10,000 and increasing its contribution to the North Somerset’s Citizen’s Advice service to £10,000.
The suggestions were all rejected by the council. It is hoped repairs to the memorial will be covered by grant funding.