Connah’s Quay Town Council precept set to rise but residents are saved from a 17% council tax hike
Connah’s Quay’s slice of the annual Flintshire council tax bill is set to increase after members of the town council agreed to raise the precept at a budget setting meeting on Tuesday evening.
The town council raises revenue to help meet its spending requirements by issuing a ‘precept’ – it then notifies Flintshire Council of the amount it needs and they collect this money on their behalf.
In a report that came before town councillors on Tuesday evening, town clerk, Steven Goodrum recommended the precept amount for 2020-21 is set at £368,597 up from £314,796 the previous year.
That would see household’s annual contribution to the authority increase from £51.06 to £59.76 per property from April, a rise of over 17 per cent.
Justifying the need for a double-digit council tax rise, Mr Goodrum explained, “The budget for 2020-2021 has been set in particularly challenging circumstances.”
A number of external factors which the Town Council has no control over having a significant impact on the amount of precept being proposed.
These include a 6.2% increase in the living wage to £8.72 a rise of 51 pence per hour and an increase in the amount of employer pension contributions from 16.8% to 17.2%.
Staffing issues have impacted again this year and will continue to do so unless a different approach is adopted.”
Mr Goodrum said that, “given the increasing impact of external budget pressures, it becomes difficult to absorb costs without passing some of this on.”
It is important to recognise that in suggesting the proposed precept, the Council has continued to ensure provision is made to support the Summer Play Scheme for 6 weeks; protect the provision of free school milk; continue to fund festive lighting in the town, and shown a commitment to fund the CCTV provision in the town.”
Councillor Bernie Attridge (Ind) requested an amendment to the precept proposals, he called on the council to dip into its own reserves and not “pass the burden on to Connah’s Quay ratepayers.”
The town council has reserves of £212, 000, a figure which wasn’t published in the council report discussed on Tuesday night.
Cllr Attridge initially called for zero per cent rise in the precept but settled for a 3 per cent increase to allow for National Minimum Wage pay rises.
His amendment passed with nine votes for, six against 1 abstention.
Speaking to Deeside.com, Cllr Attridge said, “I am over the moon that Connah’s Quay Town Council supported my amendment at the budget setting process tonight.
I was dismayed that a 17 per cent increase was proposed so I’m glad they accepted my amendment of 3 per cent.
Some residents of Connah’s Quay are struggling and having to choose between heating or eating, such a hike would of caused serious misery on hard working families.”
Councillor Andy Dunbobbin (Lab) said he was pleased that the precept has been set, he said:
“The Town Council prides itself on aiming for a minimal increase as is practically and as sensibly as possible.
Sadly, I must express that the amount of reserves the Town Council has – not being on the agenda papers – extremely unfortunate.
However, I am pleased that the Town Council are able to use these reserves to offset any significant increase for our community of Connah’s Quay.”
Cllr Dunbobbin said he would have preferred a “slightly more prudent” increase of around 6 per cent – “this was have worked out at 6 pence per week, given that there is national agreements which we must legally comply to. Namely the national minimum wage and pension contributions.” He said.
“That being said, I am proud that the Town Council is still able to provide free milk to our primary schools, supporting the oldest play scheme in Wales – Quay Play – and able to significantly contribute, if requested to swimming baths – now running as the ‘Cambrian Aquatics’ social enterprise.” Cllr Dunbobbin added.
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