Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Town Council increased its precept by four per cent for 2014/15 after a lengthy debate on Thursday evening.
BIDEFORD Town Council has voted to put its council tax precept up by four per cent, despite sitting on reserves of more than £600,000.
The council was initially recommended by its staffing, finance and general purposes committee to increase the precept by six per cent on last year, to £348,444.03.
But the four per cent rise for 2014/15 was passed by a majority of one after a lengthy debate on Thursday evening.
Councillor Andy Powell said he thought it would be wise to put the precept up, as a higher percentage of the money received went back into the town.
He said: “Six per cent invested in us will give a higher return pro rata than the same amount invested in Torridge or Devon County Council.”
Councillor Roger Vanstone said an extra 1p-2p per Band D property could help cover costs that the town council might have to pick up from the county council.
“County have already cut back on services such as grass cutting,” he said.
“The grass cutting is going down to twice a year next year - that’s where this extra money could go.”
But several councillors raised concerns over the proposed increase, when as of December 2, the council’s accounts stood at £662,895.
Cllr David Howell said: “We have got reserves we can fall back on, but we’re talking about people who have no reserves.
“We’re talking about people who are struggling, people who can only find part time work and are struggling to make ends meet.
“We should be doing as much as we can for people who are struggling, not taking pence away from them; it may be pence to us but it’s pounds for them.”
Eight councillors voted in favour of a four per cent rise, and seven voted against.