January 14, 2016
'Regrettable, but necessary' 4.5% hike in council tax bills in Burnham

Residents in Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge face a 4.5% hike in their council tax bills this year following a decision by town councillors last night (Wednesday).

Members of the council's Policy and Finance Committee discussed the council's precept for the coming financial year and decided that an increase is "regrettable, but necessary."

Council tax payers in Band D proprties will see their council tax bills rise by 4.55% to £85.26 under the proposals.

Committee Chairman Cllr Mike Facey said: "I would like the increase kept to a minimum but we have a lot of commitments and there's been a reduction in our central funding. Our running costs have also increased across the board."

He added: "An increase is regrettable but necessary and justified. We are a very active council and have enjoyed success with some of our assets such as The Princess Theatre."

The increase was proposed by Cllr Peter Burridge-Clayton and seconded by Cllr Phil Harvey during Wednesday evening's committee meeting, right.

Town Clerk Denise Emery told "3.7% of the increase is due to the Support Grant being withdrawn by central government. This was paid to Sedgemoor and passed to the Town Council. We have had to set aside £20,000 a year for this over four years and expect that figure to increase to £25,000 a year."

Capping of council tax bills could also effect the Town Council's revenue in the future, she added. "Our Band D council tax rates in Burnham and Highbridge are not high enough to be capped at the moment by central government but we are aware that the maximum figure could be under review in the future."

Cllr Phil Harvey said: "I'm not one of those who thinks Council Tax should always go up or down, but you have to look at what you need to do and then decide how you are going to afford it."

The recommendation from the Policy and Finance Committee will be subject to a final vote at February's full Town Council meeting.


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