CBC really is the “Bad Guy”
Date Added: 08/01/2014
Sandy Mayor, Cllr Susan Sutton has joined colleagues in other Town and Parish Councils in criticising Central Bedfordshire Council. Her comments followed articles in the local press asking who were the "bad guys" to blame for increases in Council Tax. The Mayor made her views known on 6 January 2014 after the Policy, Finance and Resources Committee recommended to full council that its total annual precept for 2014/15 should be set at £455,704. If approved (on Monday 13 January 2014) this means that the average Band D tax payer in Sandy will face an annual bill of £120.62 compared with last year’s figure of £105.76 - an increase equivalent to 28p per week.
In 2013 Sandy Town Council’s total precept was set at £398,491 but the Town Council also received a grant of £42,378 from central government. The grant was given to Central Bedfordshire Council specifically for Town and Parish Councils in its area to make up for reductions in the tax base caused by changes to the Council Tax benefit system. This year central government is again passing on the same amount of grant to the unitary authority but CBC has refused to give parishes and towns any part of this funding.
Mayor Cllr Susan Sutton explained “One of the largest bills we have in our budget is to pay CBC for CCTV coverage. We have made it very clear to officers and members of CBC that if it wasn’t for the actions of CBC we would not have to consider whether we can afford this £25k bill in 2014/15. We understand Central Bedfordshire is keen to keep its Council Tax as low as possible just as we want to keep our precept as low as possible. But by not passing on any of this funding CBC leaves us no choice but to make an increase. We would again urge CBC to reconsider their decision and look at where the greatest needs are to make allowances for those parishes with high benefit claimants and prudently low reserves. Sandy Town Council is good value for money, our members are all unpaid volunteers and we work hard with limited resources to provide the local services which people tell us they want.”
The Council welcomes comments and views from members of the public and all are welcome to attend the precept setting meeting on at 7.30 pm on Monday 13 January 2014 when a final decision will be made.