Weymouth Town Councillors say no to putting up its council tax

Weymouth Town Councillors say no to putting up its council tax

Published by Maria Greenwood at 7:31am 20th December 2019.

Town councillors in Weymouth have rejected a recommendation for a 3.5% increase in next year’s budget.

Instead they'll recommend that its share of council tax remains the same.

The Weymouth Town Council’s Finance and Governance Committee agreed to recommend a zero rate increase in council tax to the full council meeting in early January 2020.

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Finance chair Cllr David Harris said he was pleased that they could recommend a little bit of Christmas cheer for residents and hoped that the full council meeting would uphold the recommendation.

Cllr David Gray recommended the proposal, reminding the committee that Weymouth residents had had to face increases above the rate of inflation in four of the last five years.

'Extra money still needs to be found'

The meeting heard that a small budget working group had met with officers regularly over the last four weeks and believed that although an additional £118,000 was needed for the budget, judicious management and use of reserves would enable the town council to absorb these costs, negating the need for an increase in the local share of the council tax.

The committee recognised that the council would be unlikely to always absorb inflation costs but wanted to demonstrate that it planned to manage its finances wisely.

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'Officer recommendations'

Officers had recommended a £6.51 annual increase next year for the average Band D home to take into account an expected 3 per cent staff pay award, and a small number of budget increases.

The rise would have amounted to an increase in the town council’s share of the council tax of 3.5 per cent to give the council a revenue budget of £3.48million for the year from April 2020.

Current town councillors can claim a £1,000 a year allowance, which is suggested remain at that level.

The zero increase will now be the preferred option at a full council meeting on January 8th.

By Trevor Bevins, Local Democracy Reporter