Torridge District Council will be voting this month on whether to increase council tax by £5 this coming financial year.

And town councils around the district have also voted to increase their precepts, citing the increasing amount of work they are taking on to maintain their parishes.

The district council's community and resources (C&R) committee recommended at its meeting on February 4 that the district's share of council tax should rise by 3.15 per cent.

If passed, this would equate to an increase for a Band D property from £158.86 per year to £163.66 per year.

A final decision on whether to increase council tax for 2019/20 will be taken at a special full council meeting on February 25, 6.30pm at Bideford Town Hall.

If approved, this will be the second year running the district council has increased its share of council tax by £5.

Last year councillors went against recommendations by the C&R committee to freeze council tax and instead put it up – proposing that additional resources be directed towards economic regeneration.

Town councils put precept up

At a meeting last month, Bideford Town Council voted to increase its precept by 9.98 per cent, the equivalent of 15p per week on a Band D property.

Town clerk Heather Blackburn said members were mindfulf of the current ecnomonic climate when setting the budget, but the town council needs to fund its additional responsibilities.

She said: “We now have a maintenance team of four which as well as picking up some of the tasks previously undertaken by the county council, also make savings for the town by taking on tasks which were previously contracted out to external organisations.

“These tasks include grass cutting, weed-spraying, looking after the town planters, hedge trimming, work within Ford Woods, putting up the 'welcome to Bideford' banners, and maintenance work within the Pannier Market complex.”

Great Torrington Town Council also voted last month to increase its precept by 4.63 per cent.

This would see an annual increase of £5.31 per year on a Band D property.

Northam Town Council held a special budget meeting in December where it voted to increase its precept by 1.44 per cent.

This means a Band D property in Northam would pay a £63.35 a year share of tax to the town council.

Holsworthy Town Council has voted for its share of council tax to rise by 33p a week per Band D property.

However, 77 per cent of properties in the district fall in bands A-C, so the rise will be lower than this for most.

Mayor Jon Hutchings said: “During 2018/19 the council has been involved in many projects throughout the town such as extending the CCTV within the town and Stanhope Park and also sought to source external funding as much as possible, including the successful funding bid that helped to enable the various WW1 100 years commemorative projects in the town including the Memorial Tree Trail.

“In 2019/20 funding for projects will be pursued that will further improve the facilities in the town including progressing the purchase, refurbishment and reopening of Coles Mill Viaduct.”

Other agencies increase their share

It seems residents across Torridge could be facing a substantial rise this year.

Devon County Council will be rubber-stamping its decision on council tax at its full council meeting on Thursday, February 21.

Meanwhile Devon and Cornwall Police last week agreed a budget which will see a £24-a-year rise for a Band D property.

The 12.75 per cent increase will generate an extra £14.3million of income, which is 'necessary; to bridge the gap in resources the force is facing.

Police and crime commissioner, Alison Hernandez, told the Police and Crime Panel she would not be looking to bring large tax hikes again next year.

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