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Diss Town Council to meet tonight to decide whether to increase its precept by 15.3 per cent

By Mike Scialom

Diss scenes. The Mere and park.
Diss scenes. The Mere and park.

Diss Town Council will meet tonight to decide whether to increase the tax bill for the town’s residents by 15.3 per cent.

A Band ‘D’ Diss council tax payer currently pays £163.92 to the town council for its precept, its portion of the council tax bill.

The draft budget proposes this is increased to £189.03 per year – an increase of £25.11 per year, or £2.09 a month.

A report to councillors cites a reduction of 49 per cent in funding from South Norfolk Council, from £19,728 to £10,713 for 2018/19.

The budget also needs to find £22,000 in capital loan repayments..

The report adds there is a predicted wages overspend of about £1,911, over a total wages budget of £297,330 for 2017/18.

But it says there will also be a requirement to increase the wages budget by £32,940 to cover previous under-budgeting, salary increases of two per cent plus incremental increases through the salary scale range and pension contribution and national insurance increases.

“Councillors are again faced with a challenging budget,” it reads.

“However, this year, previous decisions to defer expenditure or not to increase the budget to offset known reductions in income or to allocate expenditure to earmarked reserves has resulted in the current situation.

“These decisions have been made over many years against the advice of officers and the results are now being felt.”

Income to the town council is down by £8,750 in hire fees, with some hirers reducing their hours and a pair of hirers cancelling their booking altogether. Projected income from Park Radio was budgeted at £4,000 for 2017/18, but only £1,140 will be achieved.

Two traders leaving Diss Town market has also contributed to the income reductions, which total more than £20,000.

It has been recommended to councillors determine a level of precept increase which will allow the authority to “meet its current commitments and not compromise its ability to maintain its assets to an acceptable standard.”

Last year, the Diss Town Council precept was increased by 9.4 per cent.

Find out the result of tonight’s meeting in Friday’s print edition of the Diss Express, or by logging on to www.dissexpress.co.uk

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