Town council has agreed a 3% rise in its share of the local council tax for the year starting in April. This amounts to £41.62 per household and will raise income £213,633 in 2018/19. Some councillors objected to the increase on the grounds that there is forecast underspend in Wellington this year of £46,000.
“We’re not actually spending the amount we raise at the moment, so how can we ask council tax payers for more money?” asked Cllr John Thorne. “Even if we didn’t raise the tax we’d see around an extra £7,000 a year just from new houses in the town.”
His view was supported by others at the meeting. “I agree with Cllr Thorne. We can’t say to taxpayers that we need more money but we don’t know what for,” said Cllr Ben Shepherd.
However, the proposal that Wellington town council needed to be financially prepared to take on new services and responsibilities in an era of cuts to district and county council resources convinced the majority of councillors, with only three voting against the rise.
“Parish and town councils nationally are trying to increase their precepts (income) in case there is a rainy day around the corner,” said Cllr Janet Lloyd. Her view was supported by Cllr Janet Reed.
“Devolution of services is already on its way. We need to raise money now to cope with more demands on us as a council,” she said.
At present the town council has £316,000 in its reserves, equivalent to around two years spending at present levels. Prior to the discussion town clerk Greg Dyke warned councillors that the current lack of restrictions on town and parish precepts may well not continue for ever.