Horncastle residents can expect hike in council tax

Residents in Horncastle are going to have to stump up more cash to pay their Council Tax bills in 2017-18.
Residents in Horncastle are going to have to stump up more cash to pay their Council Tax bills in 2017-18.

Town councillors in Horncastle were last night (Tuesday) asked to approve a 20.43 per cent hike in council tax bills for the coming year.

The increase would add £9.70 a

year to the annual charge for the owner of an average Band D rated property.

That increase will pay for a rise in the town council’s precept - the amount it needs to cover costs and deliver services - to just over £124,000.

The figure only relates to the town council,

The bill for residents will climb much higher when anticipated increases from Lincolnshire County Council, East Lindsey District Council and Lincolnshire Police are added in.

All three authorities have yet to finalise their budgets for the coming year but sources suggest the bill for a Band D property could increase by as much as £100.

The town council’s increase was proposed at a meeting of the Personnel and Finance Committee last week. Details were presented to a full meeting of the council last night (Tuesday),

Finance committee chairman Coun Jonathan Ferrari defended the increase, saying it was the first for six years.

He said: “If we want to grow as a town and we want to grow in the right direction then we must have the funding in place.”

He again stressed the council will have to take on responsibility for a number of extra services, because of cut backs by county and district councils.

As a result, the council plans to employ an extra administration person to work alongside clerk Gillian Maugher. They would each work 23 hours a week, increasing the opening times of the town council offices.

An extra maintenance worker will also be employed. The council also hopes to take on an apprentice in the summer.

The committee did consider an even bigger increase which would have seen Band D property bills rise by £19.30 (40.9%). That would have covered employing the clerk and the new employee for a combined 60-hours-a-week.

However, they rejected that idea after opposition led by Coun Fiona Martin, who said she was worried about the impact of a larger increase on residents.She doubted whether there was enough work and said: “We can’t afford to employ people sitting around waiting for the phone to ring.”

Coun Ferrari said extra staff would mean the council was more pro-active.