Hailsham Town Council has agreed its budget for 2023-2024 and adopted the recommendation put forward by the Finance, Budget & Resources Committee for the next financial year.
A budget of £1,281,529 has been agreed, with the amount of precept of £1,281,505 to be requisitioned from Wealden District Council.
This means that council tax for a Band D property in Hailsham will be £166.65, which represents only a £3.42 per year increase on the previous year.
Town Council members and officers have worked tirelessly together over many months to ensure that any tax variation is minimised for the next financial year. Difficulties have arisen and the Town Council has been subject to external pressures such as economic inflation and the cost-of-living crisis.
The shortfall in the budget of £23 is to be drawn from the Council’s reserves.
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 has made changes to ensure that Hailsham residents are not burdened with such cost increases, and this has required the Council to make savings in a number of areas.
These changes and savings have resulted in a small increase in the Town Council’s budget and subsequently, its share of the precept.
Councillor Steve Keogh, Chairman of the Town Council’s Finance, Budget & Resources Committee explained the rationale behind the budget decision: “The Town Council has challenged its officers and committees to make budget savings throughout the year, so that additional money can be reinvested in local services and facilities for the community.”
“When considering its annual precept for the financial year 2023/2024, the Town Council has taken into account the impact of the cost-of-living crisis, rising costs across the board and, moreover, the international and national inflation crisis that also affects our local communities.”
“The decision to vote in favour of a small increase in the Town Council’s share of the precept for the next financial year was a difficult one to make. However, the budget proposals represent our commitment to protecting the town’s essential services for residents and our focus now will be to continue to ensure all services are run as efficiently as possible.”
“The Town Council has had to take some proactive decisions and has been faced with 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.”
Councillor Keogh added: “Our focus for the next year, is to make a small number of required cutbacks, to ensure the tax increase is as low as possible, whilst continuing to operate our core services efficiently, including the running of the high street post office, youth services, public conveniences, community halls, cemetery and play areas, to name but a few.”
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Terry Hall, Communications Officer
Hailsham Town Council, Market Street, Hailsham, East Sussex, BN27 2AE
Telephone: 01323 841702 | Email: email@example.com