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Efforts to cut tax demand


EXTRA money needed to pay for Southwell Town Council’s services in the next financial year is likely to come from the council’s reserves rather than tax payers.

The council’s budget was discussed at a meeting of the finance and general policy committee last week, where it was decided to recommend to increase its tax demand by 5.6%.

But this figure could be halved by the time it reaches full council for a final decision.

The finance committee chairman, Mr Peter Harris, and the deputy clerk, Mr David Slight, have been instructed to find money in the council’s reserves to cover extra costs.

Mr Harris, said the 5.6% increase, more than twice the rate of inflation, was to help pay for a full-time community groundsman.

He said there had been positive feedback from the public when a temporary community groundsman was employed between May and October this year, and it was decided to make the role permanent.

There is also more money in the budget to pay for events such as the Christmas lantern parade, folk festival and continental market.

A councillor, Mr Paul Handley, said he did not like the idea of putting up the precept by two times the rate of inflation when they had enormous reserves.

“I think we should demonstrate to the residents that we are capable of making choices and keeping our precept down,” he said.

Mr Andy Gregory said: “A large number of residents are senior citizens and I think we should campaign to keep our costs down considering the money we have available.”

The council has more than £300,000 in reserves, of which £190,000 has been set aside in a land purchase fund to buy a playing field for public use.

There is also £40,000 in the repair fund for the Old Courthouse, which is owned by the council.

Mr Harris said he did not recommend reducing the amount of money in any of the reserves until disabled access had been installed in the building.

Mr John Robinson said they should try and raise money for the playing field using the precept when they knew they could buy it rather than keeping money in the reserves.

The budget will be confirmed at ameeting on January 16.

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