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12:00pm Thursday 5th April 2012 in Letters
Wiltshire councillor Peter Hutton commented on the rise in the precept by Chippenham Town Council (March 22).
He expresses surprise at finding Chippenham Town Council will raise its precept by 2.1 per cent. The actual rise will be 2.5 per cent or about 0.5p per week for a Band D local taxpayer. This is still less than a pint of good beer.
Chippenham Town Council receives no compensation from the government for freezing its council tax, whereas Wiltshire Council receives 2.5 per cent.
One expense, of particular interest to Coun Hutton, is the night- time economy. The Wiltshire Area Board is quite happy to seek the help of the town council for that initiative. Wiltshire Council pays for the CCTV operation in Salisbury but the town council pays in excess of £40,000 per annum to that area of safety in the town.
The town council is seeking to spend £90,000 on improvements to the community centre of the Neeld Hall this year. This is the beginning of a project which, over time, could cost £800,000.
The council is going ahead with the creation of fishing lakes on Stanley Park and will, eventually, acquire Monkton Park, which will lighten Wiltshire Council’s financial burden but increase that of the town council.
The town council is involved with the bid relating to the Portas Project seeking to improve the town centre, which will also have financial implications. Sadly, money doesn’t grow on trees, even if a few more have been installed around the Arches and in the High Street in recent weeks.
Finally, the budget was passed by all the town councillors and indeed Coun Andy Phillips, who is expected to be the next town mayor, seconded my proposal.
Local election may be due in 2013 but it is no reason to simplify the truth.
Coun Andrew Noblet, Leader, Chippenham Town Council.