Horncastle Town Council freezes tax precept for year ahead
COUNCIL tax payers in Horncastle can breathe a sigh of relief after it was announced that this year's town council precept remains unchanged.
Horncastle Town Council reviewed its budget and precept options at a meeting last week to try to find the best outcome for local residents.
Horncastle Mayor and East Lindsey District Councillor Fiona Martin said: "We are in difficult financial times and we should look hard at what we spend and how we spend and I think that a nought per cent increase is the best thing to do."
The town council's budget for 2013/14 stands at £129,395 which is made up of its precept (money collected from Horncastle council tax payers), a Revenue Support Grant from East Lindsey District Council and income including burial ground fees and town festivals.
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The gross precept for this year has been set at £96,154 plus the £14,981 grant from ELDC.
In a report to councillors by responsible finance officer, Amanda Bushell, members were warned that although town and parish council precepts had not been capped this year, there was a possibility that this could change for 2014/15.
She also advised that the ELDC grant could be lower or not offered at all in future years.
At the meeting councillors considered a range of options: the first to freeze the rate for taxpayers, the second to increase by 0.33 per cent and the third to increase by 15.91 per cent.
Councillor Stephen Newton said: "I think as a council we should go for option one or two because I feel that this council has got enough money to cover the shortfall if we need to this year and following years.
"All councils are in tight times and I think we need to start cutting our cloth accordingly.
"We have to go with the evidence that is available to us now and we have to deal with the issues in one or two years time if the grant is not available then."
Councillor Richard Barker said: "We as a council should be far more hard-nosed than we have been and if there are caps that come in then we should cut our cloth accordingly."