The average taxpayer in Witney will be asked to pay a precept rise of less than 40 pence a month for Witney Town Council’s share of the Council Tax from 1st April. The decision to increase the precept payment was agreed unanimously by all members of Witney Town Council at its meeting of the Full Council on Monday 15th February 2021.
The precept has increased by 3% which will enable the Town Council to maintain its council’s general fund and fulfil its statutory obligations. This is a rise of £4.64 per Band ‘D’ property for the year.
The Town Council offers a range of services to residents, which include: Allotments, Cemeteries, Civic and Community Events, Grants to Voluntary Organisations, Sports Pitches, Public Halls, eleven Recreation Grounds, Planning Matters (consultee on planning applications for the planning authority), The Town Hall and Street Scene.
Many of these do not generate any income and need constant re-investment to enable them to remain an asset for the community.
The precept also takes into account budget setting for specific projects across the town and these include:
- Park Road Play area
- Open Spaces Strategy
- Corn Exchange phase 2 – seating, lighting and sound
- Windrush Place new allotments
- Cemeteries – review of accessibility and associated works
- Christmas lights display – retender
The Town Council, in common with many businesses, has lost income during the last year due to the pandemic. It is not eligible for any of the Central Government grants and furthermore, it has also lost the Council Tax Support grant.
The forecast cost of running the Town Council’s services for 2021-2022, cannot be anticipated due to the pandemic, so this years’ budget represents a prudent estimate of income and outgoings.
Witney Town Council works closely with West Oxfordshire District Council and Oxfordshire County Council to ensure that all the services provided improve the quality of life for people of Witney.
The Town Council looks forward to maximising the benefits from the small increase in continuing to improve and upgrade the delivery of its services and meeting the expectations the aspirations of its residents.
Cllr Luci Ashbourne, Leader of the Council said;
“I’m proud that – despite the challenges the last year has thrown at us, and the resultant funding difficulties – Witney Town Council is only raising its council tax by around 10 pence a week.
This will not only allow us to continue providing our services, but also to expand what we can offer to the people of Witney at a time when our community needs it the most, and to carry on with the many exciting developments that are in the pipeline.
Whether it is a revitalised Corn Exchange, revamped open spaces, or helping the town’s many volunteer groups respond to the challenges of the ‘new normal’, the Town Council is committed to being the progressive, dynamic and forward-thinking council that Witney deserves”