St Neots councillors vote for Council Tax cut
WITH the country still recovering from the recession, councillors in St Neots have voted to cut their share of the Council Tax to help townsfolk through the financial downturn. From April 1 residents in Band D homes will pay �3.36 a year less for services
WITH the country still recovering from the recession, councillors in St Neots have voted to cut their share of the Council Tax to help townsfolk through the financial downturn.
From April 1 residents in Band D homes will pay �3.36 a year less for services provided by St Neots Town Council.
The reduction of nearly four per cent - from �87.55 per household to �84.19 - was approved by the town council on Wednesday (January 6) as part of its 2010/11 budget.
Councillor Julia Hayward told the meeting the aim of the budget was to ensure people have more money in their pockets during a time of economic gloom.
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"We have had to be mindful that we are nationally in the midst of a recession and that people are concerned about the money in their pocket," she said. "We also have to be mindful that the town council has made very substantial investment in the town's facilities over the course of the last two-and-a-half years, in particular the Eatons Community Centre, and therefore the overriding principle of this budget is to maintain, to consolidate and to enhance what we already have for the year to come.
"This budget, achieves the aims of looking after our assets, providing good service to the community and good value for money."
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Cllr Hayward said the Council Tax decrease had been made possible by "tightening up" on council spending, including a saving of �14,000 by taking grounds maintenance in house.
Money will still be spent on the cemetery extension, ongoing maintenance of the town's play areas and providing more financial support for community groups.
However, the budget failed to find support from the town's Conservative group on the council - one, Cllr David Harty, showed his contempt by leaving the meeting before voting on the budget had taken place.
He suggested the budget should not be adopted until a council staffing review was completed, fearing the council was putting money aside for jobs that would remain vacant.
Cllr Barry Chapman also opposed the budget saying not enough was being done to provide facilities in Loves Farm and Eynesbury.
"Eynesbury and Loves Farm residents will not even get a bench or bus shelter let alone the community facilities those areas have long waited for and desperately need," he said.
Whether St Neots residents will feel better off in 2010/11 remains to be seen as the council's charge makes up a small chunk of the overall charge. Cambridgeshire County Council, Huntingdonshire District Council, police authority and fire authority will all add their precepts.