Pay more for reduced services

PUBLISHED: 09:32 04 February 2010 | UPDATED: 00:52 16 June 2010

EAST Devon District Council is likely to increase its share of council tax bills by up to three per cent - while making cutbacks in some services to fill a funding gap, town councillors in Honiton have been told.

EAST Devon District Council is likely to increase its share of council tax bills by up to three per cent - while making cutbacks in some services to fill a funding gap, town councillors have been told.

Although StreetScene is the most likely target for cutbacks, Honiton Town Council believes the axe is less likely to fall on cleansing services.

Proposals to reduce the frequency of cleaning at public toilets in Honiton is bound to cause a stink among shoppers, with many already complaining loos in Lace Walk are a disgrace to the town.

Members of Honiton Town Council's policy committee last week considered the proposed cutbacks, with committee chairman Councillor Vernon Whitlock saying: "They are not hitting us as hard as coastal resorts, which rely on things like flowerbeds for tourism." But he went on to complain: "Every year it is the same - news of cutbacks come too late.

"We have already set our budget and then we are asked to take things on."

Councillors agreed the town could, perhaps, take on the responsibility of the barrow street cleaning job.

However, they rejected a proposal by Councillor Ron Farnham to take over the running of public conveniences.

Councillor Whitlock said the issue had been considered in the past.

"Maintenance of toilets would necessitate an increase in the precept," he explained.

Councillor Farnham had proposed charging for use of the facilities, with an attendant employed to look after the loos.

Councillor Vivienne Ash, the Mayor of Honiton, said the issue needed to be reviewed on a regular basis, especially with the threat of a unitary authority for Devon looming.

"Whichever way the Boundary Committee goes, there will be implications for us," she said.

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