ALSAGER TOWN COUNCIL TAX – UP BY 9.8%
Alsager Town Council’s Budget for 2015/16 has been published on their website and is scheduled for adoption at the next Full Council meeting on Tuesday 9th December, 7.15 pm at the Alsager Institute on Green Drive (off Sandbach Road North).
You can access the budget documents here
Their budget shows an increase of £30,000 in the precept, which is collected from Alsager Council Tax payers, which means a 9.8% increase to what residents pay (based upon a Band D property). The precept is the total sum of money the Town Council collect, from our community, to pay for local grants, services and their running costs.
This very significant ongoing increase of £30,000 appears to be entirely related to the worsening budget deficit caused by losses associated with running the Civic centre; other overspends have been paid for out of the Council’s reserves.
This means the cost of taking over responsibilities (devolved from Cheshire East in 2012) has grown to £100,000 which represents over a third (almost 35%) of the Town Council’s proposed new precept of £290,000. As residents will recall, and everyone predicted at the time, Cheshire East’s costs went down but we saw no corresponding reduction in the level of Cheshire East Council Tax
When the Town Council took over responsibility for the Civic, Public Toilets, Market and Allotments they published a Press Release (Alsager in Focus, March 2012) where the Chairman explained that the cost of doing so was adding £70,000 to their budgeted precept. In the same article the Chairman of the Finance & General Purposes Committee clearly said that the Civic would be run on a ‘Cost Neutral’ basis, which means that in reality running the Civic should not cost local residents anything.
Actually the Market and Allotments cost us nothing, for day-to-day running, and this year’s cost of the Public Toilet is £16,000 so the balance of the ‘additional responsibility’ precept increase, in excess of £80,000, appears to be for the Civic.
More recently some members of the Council are now expressing the view that the Civic is a community resource and should be subsidised by the community. But, this is not how the ‘deal’ was sold to the community, by the Town Council, and they should acknowledge this and accept accountability for their decision making.
What our individual Town Councillors tell us, in the run up to their elections next May, will make interesting reading.