Hailsham Town Council agreed its budget for the next financial year at the meeting of Full Council held yesterday [29 January].
The Council voted by a majority to accept the budget recommendations put forward by the Finance, Budget, Resources & Staffing Committee which included day-to-day running costs of the Council’s assets and services, in addition to capital funding for special projects.
In setting the budget for the next financial year, the Council has agreed a precept of £1,092,828, which translates to a 14p per week increase (from £138.55 to £146.17) per Band D household for the Town Council’s share of the council tax, with a £1,499.80 draw from reserves.
In making the recommendations for the budget, the Town Council has taken into account the human error made by Wealden District Council in the calculation of last financial year’s (2019/2020) tax base, which has resulted in the 2020/2021 tax base being reduced by 172.9 homes, resulting in a shortfall of precept income of £23,955.
This has had a significant impact on the Town Council’s budget setting for 2020/2021 and, following discussions with district council officers as to whether there was any resolution to the impact on the budget, the Town Council has been advised that legally there is no possibility of covering/compensation the additional losses to the Town Council.
The Council accepted the increase in the budget reflecting the above error and in order to maintain its assets and amenities for the benefit of the town to provide a clean and vibrant environment for residents, visitors and workers.
Councillor Gavin Blake-Coggins, chairman of the Finance, Budget, Resources & Staffing Committee, explained the rationale behind the decision to increase the Town Council’s share of the council tax: “Our budget for the 2020/21 financial year has been carefully reviewed and the significant effect of the human error by Wealden District Council taken into account.”
“Furthermore, the Town Council has taken some proactive decisions and has been faced with increasing costs 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.”
Town Mayor Councillor Paul Holbrook commented: “For Hailsham Town Council to provide the amount of support to the community and residents that we do, we have to be financially responsible and strive to balance the budget to the best of our ability and with residents’ quality of life in mind.”
“In order for us to continue to provide valuable services and to cover the shortfall in finances brought about by Wealden District Council’s human error, this increase in our share of the council tax bill is necessary. I understand raising taxes may be a sensitive issue, but we have to think about this in a logical fashion and do what is best for the town and the local community overall.”
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 2020/21 please contact John Harrison (Town Clerk) 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