RESIDENTS in Trowbridge could be asked to pay an extra £2.48 on a Band D property for their Council Tax charge from next April.

The annual charge could rise to £167.46, which is less than £3.22 per week, under recommendations from Trowbridge Town Council’s policy and resources committee which met on Tuesday.

This is 1.5 per cent higher than the £164.98 charged last year for a Band D property.

The recommendations will be put before the full council meeting on Tuesday, January 19 when councillors will set the precept for their next financial year.

The council tax charge is expected to rise to meet the total budget expenditure being recommended by the council’s committees.

Councillors say there is requirement to fund a £18,900 contribution to General Reserves, and they expect to take on additional services being transferred from Wiltshire Council over the next four years.

The council says there is an “expectation from the community” that the town council will take full responsibility for those additional services and deliver a quality of service better than that experienced in recent years.

Cllr Edward Kirk queried whether the services to be transferred would include The Down Cemetery, which he regards as a significant liability that could cost the council dear in the future.

He said: "I am also pleased on the cemetery because that is one thing that I would never want to take over."

He also queried the impact of the budget on schools that have become reliant on the subsidies to Active Trowbridge, which provides affordable, engaging and innovative sporting opportunities for the local community in Trowbridge and neighbouring parishes such as Hilperton.

Cllr Kirk said: "My concern is that we haven't made any allocation for taking stuff on from Wiltshire Council. We say we can do it in the budget but I just wondered if the strategy is, in effect, that we are not taking it on in this next year anyway."

He also queried whether the council had a strategy for the furlough scheme for staff during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Councillors were told the Conservative Party group on the council had not put forward an alternative budget for the precept because of the lack of flexibility in the budget.

Tory group leader Cllr Antonio Piazza claimed that 22 per cent was being spent on loan repayments and 77 per cent on staff wages, leaving only one per cent of flexibility for adjustments.

The full council will be urged to approve departmental budgets totalling £1,944,406 for 2021/22, including £250,000 loan finance, and a total budget requirement of £1,963,306.

There is currently no contribution being made to Earmarked Reserves for transfers from Wiltshire Council for 2021/22.

The council's spending is being funded in part through estimated income of £22,000 from the Community Infrastructure Levy, leaving a net precept requirement of £1,941,306 for 2021/22.