Neston Town Council’s spending proposals for the coming year will cost residents of the average Band D house an extra £5 in council tax for the year – an average increase of 10p a week. It excludes Cheshire West and Chester Council’s charge and the police and fire service precepts. At the Full Council meeting on Tuesday evening, Council scrutinised its overall budgets and agreed at the very least in needed to ‘break even’, and to make a request from Cheshire West and Chester Council that matched its projected net expenditure budget.
In previous years the town council has used its cash reserves in an effort not to increase the council tax levy. However, with cost increases and the need to maintain a working reserve this has not been possible this year and is unsustainable. To balance the budget the Town Council will levy a precept of £270,082. This amounts to £45.82 a year for the average (Band D) household: an annual increase of £5 or 10p a week.
Although other councils have differing responsibilities and costs, it should be noted that Neston has one of the lowest precept levels in Cheshire.
Precept information from Government Website
The increase will allow the council to maintain the services it provides and critically balance its budgets. One of the key projects that this will allow is to continue with improvements to Neston market. This year the town hall basement was refurbished in order to assist with the relaunch of the revitalised basement market. This has been highly successful and helped to generate new income for the town council.
The Town Council is extremely proud of its grants programme that allows community groups and individuals to apply for funds and we all want to see this maintained. This year the grants budget is set at £35,266 and has already awarded notable grants to Neston Nomads Football Club (£10,000) for 3G pitch project, £5,116.40 to Little Actors and £7,000 for Christmas event.
New floral and greening arrangements have been on display this year and the council has had to stream-line its efforts in this department in order to reduce expenditure, the current greening budget is £28,000. It is hoped that this has not deterred enjoyment of these floral displays, certainly the judges of the Best Kept Village who awarded Neston a ‘Most Improved for 2019’ didn’t think so.
Town council benches around the town have been brought up to standard and IT facilities have been renewed and improved but this is a continuing process and has ongoing costs. Council manage the town hall and this aging building has constant remedial costs to keep on top of, some of which are supported by Cheshire West and Chester Council.
The Council are currently looking to increase and improve investment in the local services, such as Christmas lights which are a huge part of the Council’s budget and without increased resources will be unachievable.
It is hoped that the Neston residents will support our action and benefit from improved sustainable investments to add to the enjoyment of everyone who lives and works in Neston.