Honiton Town Council seeks feedback to set its budget

PUBLISHED: 11:30 17 November 2015 | UPDATED: 09:58 20 November 2015

Archant

The finance committee will be making a recommendation of the budget and precept (the town council’s part of the council tax) request next Monday (November 23) at its quarterly meeting.

Honiton Town Council (HTC) is looking for feedback ahead of setting its annual budget.

The finance committee will be making a recommendation of the budget and precept (the town council’s part of the council tax) request next Monday (November 23) at its quarterly meeting.

A town council spokesman said: “Generally, people have been asking for better recreational and open space facilities, improvements to the High Street including more flowers and trees, free or reduced rate car parking, diversity of shops to improve the economy, carrying out work now reduced by Devon County Council (DCC) and protecting heritage.

“Financial provisions could be made for these things. Realistically, though, they would require additional funding if they are to make any real impact.”

HTC has already taken over maintaining several flowerbeds, several footpaths and seats, upgrading the town CCTV, improving street ergonomics, co-funding chamber of commerce projects - including the TIC - and regularly giving grants to local groups.

“We have carried this out with very limited funds,” the spokesman added. “In order to achieve what is being asked of us, we would need to increase the precept, which is part of your council tax.

“Without altering the budget from last year, the precept would still have to increase to accommodate the shortfall in Council Tax Support Grant (reduced by 27 per cent).”

Council tax is paid by approximately 9,000 households in Honiton.

It includes the spending requirements of DCC, East Devon District Council, Devon & Cornwall Police and Devon Fire Authority as well as the town council.

The district council is responsible for collecting the council tax.

The spokesman continued: “Many people do not realise that the town council does not receive any money from central government.

“Unlike the county and district councils; neither do we get any of the non-domestic rate which local businesses pay.

“Each year, we calculate the money we need to raise to provide local services.

“Then we deduct income which we expect to receive from fees acting as an information point for the district council, any grants such as the council tax support grant (each year heavily reduced) and any potential surplus from Honiton Street Market.

“This leaves the amount we require to spend on services and any capital projects which are planned for the year ahead.

“This sum, called the precept, is the amount we ask the district council to collect for us - they do this as a small proportion of the total council tax paid by householders in the town.”

Residents’ views are being sought by the town council.

The spokesman added: “We want to know if you, the residents of Honiton, are in agreement that the proposed services are ‘essential’ to Honiton.

“We also want to know if you want the town council to proceed with carrying out these ‘cuts’ in services, so please get in touch with us.”

Email towncouncil@honiton.gov.uk, or write to Council Offices, The Beehive, Dowell Street, Honiton, EX14 1LZ.


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