Hailsham Town Council has made a number of significant savings to ensure a minimal increase in its share of the council tax and precept for the next financial year (2023/2024).
Difficult decisions were made by town councillors at their latest meeting of Full Council held on Wednesday 25th January, including the removal from next year’s budget of small grants to local community groups.
The Town Council has awarded grants to a wide range of community and voluntary groups in the Hailsham area in recent years, funding used to help towards new or improved facilities, activities and projects set up for the benefit of the town.
However, due to a series of required cutbacks resulting from increased utility costs, maintenance and repair expenses for the Council, funding from the Council for the community group and voluntary sector via its Community Grants Scheme is currently unsustainable.
At the meeting, the Town Council also voted to cut its subsidy to Cuckmere Bus services for concessionary travel in the Hailsham area in an attempt to save the council tax-payer money.
In making the recommendations for the budget, the Town Council aims to provide continuing security for essential services for residents and visitors alike with value for money improvements where possible.
Some key changes which have affected the Town Council during the current financial year include significant increase in the cost of utilities across most Town Council-maintained sites, in addition to horticultural contract price rises (in line with RPI), further financial support for the Hailsham Neighbourhood Development Plan and an increase in running costs for the James West Community Centre.
“The Town Council continues to deliver value for money, and I think the budget proposal for the next year will enable us to continue to do that and go some way towards making a significant difference for the residents of Hailsham,” said Councillor Steve Keogh, chairman of the Finance, Budget & Resources Committee.
“Whilst making some difficult decisions, we are working to ensure more financial rigour, minimising the Town Council’s share of the precept and maintaining essential services.”
“The Town Council has been faced with significantly increasing costs over the past year for the services it maintains, services of which we have a responsibility to ensure are retained and supported, with value for money improvements carried out where possible.”
“We’ve done everything we can to keep our core services running while our budgets are cut back year on year, and we’re protecting statutory and peripheral services as much as we can on residents’ behalf. Like every council, we have a number of difficult decisions to make about the cuts. However, you will find that we have the best interests of the Hailsham community in mind and have strived to minimise the council tax increase.”
“Having said that, we hope to be in a position in the future to be able to reinstate those areas of cutbacks that we have sadly had to impose to ensure that residents’ tax burden is minimised.”
“In the meantime, we will be to continue to ensure our services are run as efficiently as possible, including the running of the cemetery, high street post office, youth services, public conveniences, community halls, play areas, parks and open spaces.”
Council taxpayers should be aware that only a small percentage of the council tax demand goes to Hailsham Town Council – the remaining percentage goes to Wealden District Council, East Sussex County Council, the Police Authority and the Fire Service for the services they provide.
Locally, the Town Council is committed to supporting community-based initiatives and voluntary organisations, and throughout the next 12 months, will continue to work hard and drive forward initiatives to promote the town as a key location to live, work and visit, helping to boost the local economy.
If you require any further information on the Town Council budget for 2023/2024 please contact Michelle Webber (Responsible Finance Officer) on 01323 841702 or by email: email@example.com.
Terry Hall, Communications & Public Information Officer
Hailsham Town Council, Market Street, Hailsham, East Sussex, BN27 2AE
Telephone: 01323 841702 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org