Residents in the Burnham-On-Sea area are being asked for their views on the part of the council tax that covers fire and rescue.
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority, which covers fire and rescue services in the two counties, are encouraging residents to complete the annual council tax precept survey.
The survey asks residents to share their views on the service provided by their fire service and the level of precept they would pay to maintain these services.
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service is facing an annual reduction in Government funding while also seeing increases in operating costs.
The Service has 83 fire stations with almost 2,000 staff, helping to keep the 1.8 million people who live in the two counties safe. They also protect 820,000 households, 74,000 businesses, and a further 1.1 million visitors a year.
On average, the Service attends 15,700 incidents every year and provides home safety advice to more than 18,000 households. These include flooding, road traffic collisions, fires, and other emergencies.
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority is the publicly accountable body that manages the fire and rescue service on behalf of the communities of Devon and Somerset.
The Authority is committed to the Service’s ambitious plans to end preventable fire and rescue emergencies across the two counties.
Authority Chair Sara Randall Johnson said:
“Every year we ask people within our communities what they think about the service the fire and rescue service provides and what level the precept should be.
“We have to set a budget that balances the needs of the community with the amount of money we receive from the government and local residents.
“I am acutely aware of the pressures that households are facing this autumn and winter, and this is a difficult time to ask whether people want to pay more.
“The fire service is not immune from those pressures and is seeing operating costs rise.
“We want to make sure that every penny counts towards providing our communities with the best service possible.
“I encourage people to complete the survey and give us your views so that we can set the budget and level of service that best supports the communities we serve.”
More details about the Services plans to modernise and improve their Service can be found in their Community Risk Management Plan.
The Service receives funding from council tax and business rates, known as precepts. The current council tax charge from the fire and rescue service is £91.79 a year for a Band D household.
The Authority anticipates that by 2026/27, a saving of £6.1m will be needed, based on a year-on-year increase of 1.99% to council tax over this period.
Every 1% increase to council tax precept amounts to around half a million pounds to the Service per year.
The Authority is required to deliver a balanced budget, meaning outgoings do not exceed income. The Authority will always seek to use the resources available in the best way to minimise the impact of risk to communities in the area. Further information about the Service’s spend and income is available on their website.
Share your views by completing their online council tax precept survey. If you require the survey in another format, please contact 01392 872354. This consultation finishes on 30 November.