Parish and town councils in East Lindsey forced to put budget plans on hold
PARISH and town councils are having to delay finalising their budgets for the coming year as they await final figures.
Most town and parish councils in East Lindsey are having to postpone making a final decision on their council tax precepts until the end of January.
Confirmation has not yet been received from East Lindsey District Council of the impact that national changes to council tax support funding will have on local budgets.
Town and parish councils have a legal obligation to notify ELDC of their finalised figures by January 31.
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In December, Skegness Town Council agreed in principle to set it's precept at £248,889 which amounts to a rise of 7.93 per cent on the previous year but at last week's meeting it was still unable to ratify the decision.
Members agreed to hold a special meeting on January 29 to enable this to happen.
Councillor Mark Smith said: "It's totally atrocious we are left in this position."
Horncastle Town Council has also had to call a special meeting on January 22 to decide its precept after being unable to make a decision at their meeting last week.
ELDC's deputy chief executive and chief finance officer, Rob Barlow, said: "This year's process for setting the tax base has taken longer, although it is still well within the statutory timescales, for two reasons, both relating to the Government.
"In previous years the Government money to support local services has been announced in early December and we'd been able to provide towns and parishes with the information they required for mid-December.
"The difference this year was that Government didn't confirm the funding they'd provide for local services until December 19, which is much later than usual. Alongside this, and a decision that couldn't have been taken ahead of the Government funding announcement, was the need for the district council to agree a Council Tax Support Scheme for East Lindsey, which it did at January 9 council. We are writing to all town and parish councils now to confirm all the figures they require so they can move forward with confidence in setting their budget."
Louth Town Council set a provisional cash precept of £212,304 for 2013/14 which represents an increase of 6.1 per cent of the total funding they will receive made up of a new Council Tax Support Grant and council tax.
The current precept is £200,110.
If this precept figure remains unchanged at their next meeting on January 22, this will work out at £40.61 for a Band D property although this sum is yet to be confirmed until East Lindsey District Council have provided final figures.
If approved this will be a 7.5 per cent increase, representing an increase of £2.81 a year or five pence a week from 2012/13.