Town council precept frozen – but Walden Band D households to pay £5 less than last year

10:21 10 January 2014

Saffron Walden Town Hall

Saffron Walden Town Hall

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Saffron Walden Town Council has frozen its Council Tax precept for 2014/15 – but residents will actually pay slightly less than last year.

At a meeting last night (Thursday), councillors agreed to stick to a precept of £784,117 for the town council’s services, which includes looking after allotments, open spaces, the cemetery and facilities such as the town hall.

However, in real terms, it means a Band D household will be paying £134.89 towards the town council precept this year – down from £140.49 in 2013/14, or a 3.99 per cent decrease.

The reason for this is that the town council has received a grant of £64,546 from Uttlesford District Council, payable because of new Local Council Tax Support discounts reducing the number of households who pay full Council Tax.

It means the town council’s overall budget for 2014/15 is £848,663, resulting in a precept of £784,117.

Cllr David Watson was pleased Band D households would be paying £5.60 less than last year.

He said: “The figure is actually better than what it appears because we have lost a £10,000 transfer grant from Uttlesford [district council] for managing the facilities they handed over to us.

“For us not to increase the Council Tax precept shows that this council has managed those facilities more economically than Uttlesford, and I think the town clerk and his staff should be congratulated for working so studiously.”

Deputy mayor Sandra Eden quipped: “We offer more for less.”

Cllr Richard Harrington added: “I’m sure taxpayers will be pleased to see there is going to be a 3.99 per cent reduction in what they paid last year.”

Councillors voted in favour of the proposed precept freeze.

It was far better news for residents than 12 months ago when members agreed to increase the town council’s precept by 12.6 per cent – up from £124.75 in 2012/13 to £140.49.

The town council’s share of the Council Tax bill accounts for only a small percentage of the overall total.

Essex County Council – which takes about 75 per cent – has not revealed what its precept will be, but Uttlesford District Council is set to freeze its portion. Essex Fire & Rescue service and police and crime commissioner Nick Alston have not yet finalised their respective budgets.

The final Council Tax bills will be published when all five organisations have agreed on their individual precepts.

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