Wiltshire Publications

Town council increase precept to cover delegation of services from Wiltshire Council

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WESTBURY Town Council has agreed to increase the town’s precept from April in order to prepare for the increase of services being passed down from Wiltshire Council over the next year. 

On Monday 6th January, the town council agreed the precept for the coming financial year. 

The town council say, “This is one of the most important and difficult decisions the council must make each year. 

“From April 2020, the town council precept will increase, meaning that a resident in a band D property in Westbury will pay the town council an extra £39.52 each year (75.8p per week). However, many residents will pay less as many houses in Westbury range from band A-C.

“The precept is the amount of council tax the town council requires to deliver its services. The precept is a small element of the overall council tax that includes Wiltshire Council, Wiltshire Police and the Dorset & Wiltshire Fire & Rescue.”  

Chair of the Council, cllr Mike Sutton said, “It has been government policy these past few years that services and decisions should be taken at the lowest level at the same time reducing the amount of money paid to primary authorities such as Wiltshire, although there has been no subsequent transfer of monies to town and parish councils.

“Wiltshire has been reducing the services it provides and has stated it is looking to cut most if not all non-statutory services, with the result that all towns including Westbury have to find the money for those services or lose them. We have taken over play areas and public toilets, which Wiltshire refused to support, along with many other services and are currently about to start discussions with Wiltshire as to what other services they would like to transfer.

“Services are not cheap to provide and it is necessary to increase the precept to pay for such services, but we are pleased to announce that we are able to limit this increase by £39.52 per year due to prudent efficiencies and hope therefore that we can improve or maintain existing services to the town.”

During the meeting, cllr Ian Cunningham said, “Westbury Town Council is in the unusual position that we have not yet entered into the negotiations with Wiltshire Council over delegated services, and it is perfectly possible that we could decide in these negotiations not to do this at all. 

“But due to the timings that Wiltshire Council have offered us, unlike other towns in the area who have an idea what their delegated services might be, we can only make an estimate based on what we have found out about existing contracts. We are therefore putting up the precept in anticipation of these services.”