Spa councillors defend a 20% hike in tax bills

It will cost more to live in Woodhall Spa after councillors voted to increase the precept.
It will cost more to live in Woodhall Spa after councillors voted to increase the precept.

Woodhall Spa has joined the seemingly endless list of town and parish councils to impose a double figure increase on council tax payers.

Parish councillors have voted to increase their precept for the coming year by 20 per cent which equates to an additional £7.10 for an average Band D rated property.

However, that figure will be even higher when hikes from the county council, district council and Lincolnshire Polcie are added in.

Councillors in Woodhall stress their increase means Band D owners will have to pay an additional 14p a week.

That will generate an additional £12,598 towards the council’s precept - the amount of money it needs to deliver services and cover other costs, including wages.

Parish councillors say the additional revenue is needed because it will be responsible for delivering more services in light of cuts by Lincolnshire County Council and East Lindsey District Council.

In a newsletter delivered to residents, the parish council says: “A major influence on setting the precept was the decision by LCC at very short notice to no longer carry out the cutting of grass verges in the village, or the cutting back of basal growth on trees.

“This has meant these costs have had to be included in the Parish Council budget to ensure that these important services continue in the village and unfortunately this has to be paid for from the parish precept.”

Councillors say they have taken into account the possibility of ‘other costs’ being passed down by ELDC.

Residents have requested a new bus shelter in the village and parish councillors may have to contribute towards the cost.

Councillors warn that, without the precept increase, its cash reserves at the bank would fall below the recommended level.

The council adds: “A 20% increase might seem exceptionally large but, because our precept is so low, any meaningful increase in expenditure creates a disproportionate percentage increase. Our precept is still much lower than many other similar sized parishes.”