Rise in share of council tax for Horncastle residents is revealed

The waiting game: Residents face an anxious time before discovering  how much Council Tax they will have to pay in 2017.
The waiting game: Residents face an anxious time before discovering how much Council Tax they will have to pay in 2017.

Residents in Horncastle breathed a huge sigh of relief this week after town councillors voted to impose a two per cent increase in their share of Council Tax bills for the coming year.

That means the town council figure will increase from £57.18 to £58.32 - a rise of just £1.14 in the annual charge for an average Band D-rated property.

Just 12 months ago, the town council was forced to defend a 20.22% hike which equated to an increase of £9.70 for a Band D home.

However, it is still a worrying time for householders with county, district and police increases for the coming 12 months still to be finalised.

Added together, it’s thought an average bill could increase by at least £60 although much will depend on where people live - and the band rating for their property.

In Mablethorpe, for example, the town council is looking to impose an increase of 18.6% this year - meaning its share of council tax bills will have risen by more than 50% in two years.

In Louth, the planned increase this year is 9.70%.

Speaking at a meeting of Horncastle Town Council last Tuesday, clerk Amanda Bushell said a finance committee recommendation was for the local precept to rise to £129,00.10 - an increase of just over £2,000.

The precept is the amount the council needs to deliver services in a year - and pay for staff costs.

It emerged during the meeting that the increase would provide funding for a new projector which would cost between £4-500.

In addition, there was money from grants to local organisations - and funding to help pay for the town’s events later this year to mark the end of the First World War.

Mrs Bushell said that the bigger increase 12 months ago was partly because the town council had ‘previously frozen’ its share of bills since 2011, and partly because of more responsibilities for services handed down by county and district councils.

She explained smaller single figure increases on an annual basis were better than a big hike.

Councillors voted unanimously for the 2% increase with Coun Maurice Lamb saying it was a sound and sensible decision.

Details of the county, district and police ‘levies’ will be announced over the next four weeks, but experts are predicting an overall increase of at least £60-a-year for Band D properties.

At the same time, county and district councils are warning of possible cuts to even frontline services as they look to balance the books following another significant reduction in funding from central Government.