Cash rich council sets highest precept in North Devon

12:28 04 February 2014

No tax break for South Molton as council banks reserves.

SOUTH Molton Town Council has defended its position not to reduce its share of the council tax – despite sitting on nearly £1 million in its reserves.

Although the council has agreed to freeze its precept for the fourth year running, the annual bill for an average band D household will be around £97 – the highest in North Devon.

Similar households in Barnstaple will pay £70. The annual bill will be £61 in Ilfracombe and £74 in Bideford.

Council tax will net South Molton Town Council a total of £153,379 during the next 12 months.

But finance officer Andrew Coates said because of new housing developments in the town, the annual bill had actually come down by around £6 per household.

He said the council had around £450,000 in general reserves and £500,000 in capital reserves.

“General reserves are quite high but should be coming down shortly as we have some general maintenance planned around the town,” he said.

“I like to keep that figure fairly high in case we need money to make repairs to buildings for example.”

Mr Coates said the capital reserves could not be used to run the council or lower the precept.

“We can only use capital money to buy land or other fixed assets and investments to produce income for the council,” he said.

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