Parish Council hit ratepayers with huge increase
Local residents will by now have received their new tax bill from their Borough Council (for most in this community that is Kings Lynn & West Norfolk;
for those over the border, Fenland).
A leaflet accompanying the bill shows how the money collected by the Borough is split between the County Council, the Borough Council, and your local
Parish Council. It also shows the percentage change for a property in 'band D' compared with last year.
Throughout England, the vast majority of local & health authorities have made savings by cutting services and wage bills to prevent large increases.
Cambridgeshire and Norfolk County Councils have kept theirs to around 5% (including costs of Fire and Police services). Fenland Borough Council wants
only another 3%. The Borough Council of KL & WN have been very frugal and have actually reduced their charge by minus 3%.
Welney Parish Council by contrast wants FIFTEEN PER CENT MORE. Why? Are we going to receive a lot more services? The council set the rate at their
meeting in January, but the minutes reveal nothing:
"An interim balance sheet to 31st December, 2005 showing monies spent, and an estimate of the expenses to 31.3.06 was presented to each Councillor
for consideration in setting the Annual Precept Figure for the Borough Council. Following discussion it was proposed by Cllr.Bennett, seconded by
Cllr.Jones and agreed with 1 abstention, that we should precept for a figure of £7,500.00. It was further agreed that an explanation of how the precept
is spent should be included in the next Welney News Report so that parishioners can see why the money is required and how it is spent."
The webmaster's recollection of that meeting was that not one single saving was suggested or considered. So what did the Council say in the
"A list of Councils Annual expenses.....should give parishioners an idea of why the money is required. Street lighting £1,200, Clerks salary £2,492 & expenses £400, Playing field grass cutting £725, Rent for Parish Hall £178 & heating hall for doctor/CAB surgeries £50, audit fee £141, Grants £400, Insurance £850."
That comes to under £6,500, but they want £7,500. How do they justify the extra £1,000? Well, they just say they want
"some money to work with..and...extra cash in case something unexpected crops up."
Don't we all!