Hailsham Town Council has frozen its share of the council tax for the sixth consecutive year.
The council said its decision was based on the need to help some local residents who are experiencing financial difficulties – and that the decision would not compromise essential services for the community.
At the meeting of Full Council held on Wednesday (January 15), the main concern was to set the council tax precept– the total quantity of money the council will take from the council tax payer to run the services provided by the Town Council for the year April 2014 to March 2015. It was agreed at the meeting that the overall budget stands at £876,889, which is a decrease of £16,230.00 from that of 2013-2014 (£893,119).
The budget is made up of a precept of £745,164, a £100,975 Council Tax Support Grant and money from the Town Council’s reserves (£30,750).
Finance & Budget Oversight Committee chairman Councillor Chriss Triandafyllou said, “Despite rising costs for the Council we have taken into account the continuing financial pressures on residents as a result of the current adverse economic climate, hence the decision by town councillors to vote in favour of a 0% rise for 2014/15.
“We have helped residents to fight the credit crunch by freezing council tax for six years running now and we hope to limit increases in our share of the total council tax bill as much as possible in the near future by continuing to review our service delivery through best practice and value for money.
“The Council Tax Support Grant provided by Wealden District Council has been reduced by 15% from the grant received for 2013/14 – from £118,000 to £100,975 and it is likely that the Grant will be reduced further next year also.
“ In light of this and likely future cuts in support funding the Town Council has challenged its officers to make budget savings during the past year so that additional money can be reinvested in local services and facilities for the community. Further savings and reductions in the budget will be sought on an ongoing basis.”
Town Clerk John Harrison said, “At a time when many are experiencing uncertainty and financial worries, all local authorities have a public duty to keep council tax increases to a minimum.
“We have shown that, with careful financial planning, we can achieve this cut in council tax, without affecting our core services for residents.”