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Street lighting, toilet costs and grant cuts force Diss town council tax rise

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Diss Town Council is to request raising its share of the overall council tax bill for 2019/20 by 8.83 per cent - equating to £16.45 per year for a band D household, or £1.65 a month.


At the council’s meeting on Wednesday, councillors voted for the tax hike to balance the books after taking on extra costs, including street lighting, the Mere’s Mouth toilets and the loss of a central government grant.

The leadership question was also finalised on Wednesday when Trevor Wenman stepped up to the challenge of leader, while Simon Olander became deputy leader and Sonia Browne was appointed as deputy mayor.

The reorganisation, to carry the council forward in the run-up to the May elections, follows the resignation of Cllr Julian Mason as leader, in December.

Regarding council tax, the council, says: “We have managed to limit the increase to £16.45 per household per year, or £1.65 per month, if paying in 10 monthly instalments, which is usually around 10 per cent of the overall council tax bill, made up of other charges from the district council, county council and police.

“From April, the town council will be taking on responsibility for the Mere’s Mouth toilets and 227 of the town’s street lights, which are currently managed by the district council.

“This means 43 per cent of the £16.45 increase covers the cost of these services and tax payers will no longer be charged for these by the district council.

“In addition, due to a change in government policy several years ago that shifted the burden of paying for council tax benefit from national to local taxpayers, the town council has been receiving a transitional grant via the district council, which has been reducing year on year. This was £10,713 in 2018/19 and has now ceased altogether.”

The £16.45 increase for a band D property per year breaks down as £5.35 for street lights, £1.66 for the Mere’s Mouth toilets and £3.96 for the loss grant.

“These three items add up to £10.97 and the remaining £5.48 represents an increase of 2.9 per cent, which is less than inflation as measured in the October 2018 retail index at 3.3 per cent," said the statement.

The precept request will now be submitted to South Norfolk Council.

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