Published: January 25, 2011
29p a week tax rise will save threatened council services in Burnham

Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge residents face a 29p a week council tax hike to pay for the cost of the Town Council taking over the maintenance of public toilets, dog litter bins and the town's Princess Theatre from cash-strapped Sedgemoor District Council.

The Town Council's Policy and Finance Committee met on Monday night (January 24th) to assess how much extra tax would be required to pay for the services.

It follows the recent decision by Sedgemoor District Council that it would close public toilets, no longer empty dog litter bins, and close the Princess at the end of March unless alternative funding could be found from other sources.

Eileen Shaw, Clerk to Burnham and Highbridge Town Council, told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "The recommendation of the Policy and Finance Committee, which will be presented to the full Town Council meeting on 7th February, is to set a precept figure of £525,497 which will mean that the share of the council tax paid by a Band D property in Burnham or Highbridge which comes to the Town Council will rise by £15.10 to £76.09 a year, an increase of 29 pence per week."

"This increase will enable the Town Council to provide funding to Sedgemoor District Council to keep the public conveniences in Burnham and Highbridge open and to continue to empty dog litter bins. During the coming year, however, discussions will continue to find a more cost effective way of providing these services."

The Town Council is also in negotiation with Sedgemoor District Council to look at ways in which the Town Council can manage and operate the Princess Theatre to ensure that the facilities are retained for the benefit of the community.

Mrs Shaw said: "This means that a budget provision has also been made for this, but again the Town Council is looking into ways of providing this service in a more cost-effective manner."

"Also included in the budget figure is a sum for other services provided by other authorities, which may also be under threat in the coming year unless the Town Council can find some funding to continue them."

A final decision on the precept demand will be made at the Town Council meeting on Monday 7th February at 7pm in the Council Chambers in Jaycroft Road. The meeting will be open to the public as usual and, provided that written notice is given to the Town Clerk by 12 noon on Friday 4th February, interested members of the public can address councillors for a maximum of three minutes.

 


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