Horncastle residents face a increase in council tax

Citizens Advice in Wellingborough is happy to help anyone who is worried about their finances
Citizens Advice in Wellingborough is happy to help anyone who is worried about their finances

Residents in Horncastle could face a near 15 per cent increase in the town council’s share of council tax bills next year.

The actual figure – 14.7 per cent – would add £6.96 to the annual bill for an average Band D property, if a proposed budget by the Finance Commitee is approved by full council at a meeting next month.

However, the figure does not include anticipated rises from Lincolnshire County Council, Easdt Lindsey District Council and Lincolnshire police who have yet to announce details of their likely precept for the coming financial year.

The payments for county, district and police make up a much larger slice of tax bills.

Ominously, all three authorities are expected to vote for a rise – meaning a £100-plus increase in annual bills.

Horncastle’s proposals were revealed at a meeting of the town council last week.

Coun Jonathan Ferrari, chairman of the Finance Committee, said the rise would generate an extra £14,825.

He said the additional money was needed to help pay for services the town council will have to take responsibility for amid cutbacks by LCC and ELDC.

Coun Ferrari stressed the town council’s share of bills had not increased for six years.

He also suggested councillors could consider a bigger increase and it was difficult to set a precept because the town council did not know exactly what services it would have to taken on board.

A 14.7 per cent increase would cover the cost of employing an extra member of staff - and services like grass cutting and maintaining verges.

Coun Ferrari said: “A lot of what we are doing would improve and enhance the town, make Horncastle more attractive for residents and visitors.

“If we took on an extra staff member, it would mean the town council office would open all week.

“It would not have to close when the clerk goes on holiday.”

Coun Ferrari revealed a bigger increase would equate to a 19.39 per cent rise in bills for a Band D property.

He added: “I’m sure the wider public will understand - more full time staff means a better service, a better town.

“I know it (19.39 per cent increase) might seem a lot but it works out less then half what we pay for green bin collection.”

He said the Finance Committee would meet on January 3 to finalise a proposal before full council later in the month.