Town Council justifies 28% Council Tax increase

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Many residents will have received their Council Tax bills for 2017/18 last week and noticed that Wilmslow Town Council's precept (their part of the bill) has gone up by 28%.

This is the first time the Town Council has increased the precept since they were formed five years ago and means the annual charge for a band D Property will increase by £6, from £21.45 to £27.45 for the next financial year.

Speaking about the increase Councillor Martin Watkins, Chairman of Wilmslow Town Council, has issued the following statement:

Wilmslow Town Council has now been operational for five and a half years. During that time the Town Council has evolved in its role as the most local form of government in Wilmslow. The Town Council today performs an important role in offering a voice to residents

• in supporting the vibrancy of the town centre economy,

• enhancing the presentation of our streets,

• fostering success in working with local groups to bring recognition to the town such as North West in Bloom,

• stepping in to prevent the loss of important local services such as town centre CCTV,

• enhancing existing facilities including bringing the Citizens Advice Bureau back to the town,

• providing and installing the Christmas lights,

• bringing events such as the Cinema on the Carrs to the town,

• providing financial support for local groups and organisations through our grant scheme,

• working in partnership with local groups and bodies in delivering joint projects such as the Rota Gym and

• identifying our own projects that will deliver value to the people of the town such as the toilet block and kiosk at the Carrs .

The Town Council is currently working with and providing funding for a group of skilled local volunteers to develop a Neighbourhood Plan for the town and will shortly be taking on responsibility for the management and development of allotment sites in the town.

Over the life of the Town Council the precept funding, taken entirely from the residents of Wilmslow through the Council Tax bill, has remained unchanged. In the early years this enabled the Town Council to build financial reserves whilst the Council developed its role in the town. These reserves have been allowed to fall in a managed way as our role has developed allowing us to take on additional roles, provide support for Wilmslow community projects and to fund larger in house projects without increasing the charge to householders.

The Town Council in Wilmslow wishes to continue to benefit the lives of residents , continuing to provide and develop existing services and be able to develop its role when appropriate.

Unfortunately the self-imposed freeze on precept charges to residents is unable to be continued beyond the current year ( 2016.17) due to lower financial reserves and an income stream that has been impacted by cuts to grants previously provided by Cheshire East Council. With the declining cash reserves now held by the Town Council it is now important to set a precept that is based on a long term expenditure plan whilst ensuring that the cost remains amongst the very lowest of the towns within Cheshire East for a typical band D property.

The Town Council has made a decision to increase the annual cost for a band D Property on 1 April 2017 from £21.45 to £27.45 per year an increase of £6 per year or 50p per month. This rate when compared to the charges imposed by other Town Councils in Cheshire East for the current year ( 2016.17) continues, I believe, to present excellent value for money being 59% less than Alderley Edge, 53% less than Bollington, 63% less than Alsager, 28% less than Handforth, 66% less than Congleton, 63% less than Holmes Chapel, 28% less than Macclesfield, 37% less than Knutsford, 60% less than Poynton,66% less than Sandbach.

Your Council Tax bill for 2017/8 will also reflect a 4.99% increase by Cheshire East Council and a 1.99% increase by both Cheshire Fire Authority and a Cheshire Police.

Tags:
Council Tax, Wilmslow Town Council
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Comments

Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Nick Jones
Wednesday 15th March 2017 at 4:45 pm
Spend some money on a decent WTC web site.. The April 2015 chairman's report is meaningless 2 yrs further on...just remove it or archive it ... It all needs refreshing .. Some transparency around grants would be much appreciated to see where our cash is going !...Although there is a caveat stating "Wilmslow Town Council is not responsible for content on any other websites linked to from this site.." What about being a bit more responsible and current with this one ?
WTC do some great community work..Improved communication can only improve support surely ?.
Angela McPake
Wednesday 15th March 2017 at 5:21 pm
Hi Nick,
We are currently in the process of totally overhauling the website. The current site was an off the peg design for parish/ town councils specified some time ago. Mark Goldsmith and myself are working with Matthew Jackson the Town Clerk to get something more user friendly - for residents and ourselves. I am hesitant to put a date on when it will be ready but would like to think it will be around the half year
Thanks
Cllr Angela McPake
Nick Jones
Wednesday 15th March 2017 at 5:34 pm
Reassuring, Thanks Angela.
Manuel Golding
Wednesday 15th March 2017 at 6:05 pm
Well done Mark, Angela and Mathew.
Rick Andrews
Thursday 16th March 2017 at 8:49 am
An increase is Ok, as long as the money is spent sensibly and not used for events where participants do not really need support. also the Town Council should remember that the town is not just the centre and consider other areas for projects. for example, there is a piece of land at the corner of Broadwalk and Carrwood Road which is council owned and completely overgrown.
Mary Sunderland
Friday 17th March 2017 at 3:43 pm
I would happily pay more to see the town tidied up and the facilities improved.

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