Grass cutting leads costs as precept goes up

PUBLISHED: 12:30 18 January 2016

Exmouth Town Hall.

Exmouth Town Hall.

Archant

Exmouth Town Council has announced an increase in the amount of money it charges council tax payers, saying it needs extra cash to take on services such as grass cutting.

The precept for 2016 to 2017, which will come into force from April, will see a Band D household’s annual contribution to the town council rise from £30 to £44 – around 26p per week.

The council says the main reasons for the increase are a drop in grant aid from external sources, and a desire to protect services for the community. One of these is the cutting of grass verges, which Devon County Council has cut back to the statutory minimum, and for which the town council has set aside £40,000 in its budget to carry out extra cuts, in response to public demand.

The council’s finance committee chairman, David Chapman, said: “This year’s budget has been designed to empower the council to react to unforeseen events and avoid last year’s problems when the county council decided to stop cutting the grass. We are in a cycle where central government is reducing income to local councils, such as county, district and parish, and the net effect on Exmouth Town Council will be a reduction of approximately £33,500 over the next three years.”

Along with grass cutting, the council has budgeted for the recruitment of a deputy town clerk, pay and pension increases, and repairs to the seafront clock tower and bus shelters. The council will also have a £40,000 budget for grants to community groups.

At this week’s town council meeting, where the budget was approved, Councillor Mark Williamson said: “I think the budget reflects how people have been telling us that they want a council that reflects the needs of the town.

“Grass cutting is an example. We are all proud of our town, but there’s work to be done to keep it in tip-top condition.”

Councillor Steve Gazzard said: “People have been telling us they want the grass cut and I am really pleased that, as a council, we are going to take that on.”


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