After lengthy discussions Chudleigh Town councillors have taken the decision to increase the precept for 2014/15 to £101,670.This is an increase of £3,451 on the current precept.
Due to an increase in the number of houses in the town this actually equates to a two per cent increase for Band D households. In cash terms this will mean an increase of £1.16 in the annual Council Tax bill for a Band D household.
Nick Walter, the Chairman of the Town Council said "In the current economic climate we do realise that any increase in Council Tax bills will be unwelcome. "However, we are faced with increasing overheads such as increases in utility charges and pension contributions. If we are to maintain our services to the community we need to introduce this increase. "
Councillors, this year, have taken the decision that our staff should be paid the Living Wage from April 2014 which will be an added cost. The Town Council does not have the level of cash reserves to meet a budget deficit so it is vital for us to produce a balanced budget.
This can only be done by a small precept increase or cutting expenditure by no longer funding such things as community grants and Christmas lights."
He went on to explain that the Town Council had just made grants to four different community groups totalling £2,900.
"This year we have made grant awards to Chudleigh Writers Circle, Volunteering in Health, Chudleigh Community Pool and Chudleigh Youth Centre," he said."For some, these grants will help them to meet their operating costs whilst, for others, it will enable them to enhance their service to the local community. "As a Council we feel it is vital that we are able to continue to provide support to community groups next year and we will only be able to do that if we increase the precept."
A Chudleigh resident living in a Band D level property currently pays £58-10 per annum of their total Council Tax bill to Chudleigh Town Council. This will increase to £59.26 next year.