Diss and Harleston decide council tax precept for coming year

Diss Town Council decides council tax precept
Diss Town Council decides council tax precept

Two town councils have decided their council tax precepts for 2018/19 – but still have until April to change their minds.

Diss Town Council and Redenhall with Harleston Town Council met on Wednesday evening to decide the final figures for the precepts, which will affect residents’ council tax.

Harleston Town Council decides council tax precept

Harleston Town Council decides council tax precept

In Diss, councillors agreed on a 13.6 per cent rise in the precept for band D households, reflecting a £62,272 rise in the budget.

Councillors also approved a precept demand to South Norfolk Council of £499,772 – or £186.27 for a band D household.

Band D residents will now pay an extra £1.86 per month. This results in another £22 a year for each band D home.

Diss Town Council had initially proposed an increase of 15.3 per cent – or £25.11 a year per band D household – a rise from £162.92 to £189.03 per year, but this was reduced.

Diss has a band D equivalent tax base – the number of taxable properties – of 2,683 homes. This has seen a small increase in the previous year, up by just 14 homes. In 2016/17, their precept was £149.90.

Diss mayor Trevor Wenman said at the meeting: “The reason we have a 13.6 per cent increase in the council tax – which sounds like a huge figure, but is only about 50p a week per household – has got nothing to do with the grants.

“It has everything to do with the fact that we will have £62,000 less to spend compared to five years ago. So, effectively, the amount of money we have had to play with has gone down out of our budget.”

A grant for Waveney Food Bank was also cut by £3,400 as it has provision available from last year’s budget.

Redenhall with Harleston Town Council, meanwhile, has a tax base of 1,667 homes.

On Monday, its finance committee proposed a rise of 13.2 per cent, which would have meant an increase of £23.81 for a band D property, which currently stands at £180.15 a year.

However, following a proposal by Cllr John Marjoram to keep the precept at the same level, a second by Cllr Ian Broughton to accept the finance committee’s recommendation of 13.2%, councillors, instead, voted through a third proposal by Cllr Greg Rose, to submit a figure of 8.2 per cent to South Norfolk Council.

This will mean a rise in council tax for a band D properties of £14.80, raising the figure to £194.96 a year.

The council heard that its budget prediction for the next year would show a deficit of £46,206.

The council’s finance committee felt that a 13.2 per cent rise would be needed to help meet this, alongside income from reserves and other sources.

Cllr John Noughton, who proposed the rate stay the same, said: “We just can’t justify it when we have reserves in the bank and are spending money on silly CCTV, which we will never use,” he said.

However, the council heard that, if the rate was to stay the same, costs for the council, which include taking on new responsibilities for car parking, toilets, as well as local government wage increases, could be as high as £70,000.