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Huntingdon Town Council agree 14 per cent rise in local council tax

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Council taxpayers in Huntingdon face an inflation busting 14 per cent rise in the town council’s precept for the coming year.

Huntingdon Town Council says the increase was agreed in January and was necessary to ensure a “fiscally responsible budget”.

Although the town council proportion of the overall council tax charges for households is small, in Huntingdon alone it will mean a weekly increase of £0.49p per week on a Band D property, or 38p per week on a band B property.

This is before the district, council, fire authority, police and combined authority’s mayor’s precepts are added.

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Cllr David Landon Cole, Mayor of Huntingdon. He will The Annual Meeting of the town of Huntingdon will take place in the Town Hall, Market Hill, Huntingdon, on Thursday 2nd March at 7.00pm.The Mayor of Huntingdon will chair the meeting and present the Town Council’s annual report

Cllr David Landon Cole, Mayor of Huntingdon. He will chair the  Annual Meeting of the town of Huntingdon in the Town Hall, Market Hill, Huntingdon, on Thursday 2nd March at 7.00pm and present the Town Council’s annual report

Town councillors agreed they need to raise £1,650,217 in 2023/24, equating to a 14% increase on the 2022/23 precept.

£1.97 a month for Band B

For those that pay via direct debit in 10 monthly payments, this represents an increase of £2.54 per month for Band D properties and £1.97 per month for Band B properties. Most properties in Huntingdon are band B.

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The precept equates to 51.5% of the Huntingdon Town Council’s income, with other income (30.9%) coming from the crematorium and cemeteries, rental income from council owned properties, and grass cutting and verge maintenance on behalf of other local authorities.

Town clerk Philip Peacock says: “The final portion of budgeted income (17.7%) will be from existing reserves and investments.”

When the budget was put to councillors, 7 members voted in favour, 2 against and 1 member abstained.

Mr Peacock reports, in council minutes, that the town council doesn’t receive any funding from central government and has also been affected by rising energy costs, inflation and the cost-of-living crisis.

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“We are committed to maintaining our existing services to support Huntingdon residents,” he reports.

Cllr Phil Pearce, chair of the finance committee, told councillors that the budget setting process began several months ago.

He thanked all those involved for their “perseverance and ongoing” efforts in getting to the precept figure.

Councillors discussed the increase, commenting that with inflation, the increase was reasonable, given the amount of work, services, projects, and events undertaken by the council to serve the town.

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Town clerk Philip Peacock said that from experience that it would be a negative impact to cut budgets and stop providing services, as this would be noticed.

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By making small increases to carry on providing a high level of service delivery, this would be welcomed by residents.

Cost of living crisis

One councillor is said to have highlighted the cost-of-living crisis, concerned that the increases wouldn’t be affordable, especially as there would be increases across the county and district council, along with other authorities such as police and fire.

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Councillors, says the minutes of their meeting, “were reminded that the town council’s part of Council Tax formed a smaller proportion and that the services undertaken by the town council made a big difference to local people’s lives.

“It was noted that the setting of the 2023/24 budget had been the hardest year yet and that a huge amount of work had gone into making the budget as tight as possible”.

One councillors suggested that 80% of people entitled to support were not in full receipt of their benefit entitlement and it was suggested that the town council could produce an information sheet on what support was available and where from.

And another councillor advised that they had been assisting residents with applications for support and that they would be happy to offer their help more widely.

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Cllr David Landon Cole, the mayor, said he had drafted an article for a local paper explaining how the 49p week rise had been arrived at “which he hoped would help to demonstrate why the increase was the right thing to do”.

Cllr Landon Cole will chair the annual town meeting on at the Town Hall, Market Hill, Huntingdon, on Thursday 2nd March at 7.00pm.

Town Hall public meeting

It is a public meeting open to all residents of the town of Huntingdon and there will be an opportunity for electors to put forward their questions to town councillors in an open forum on matters they feel are important to the town.

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There will also be a presentation from Inspector Norden from the Neighbourhood Policing team in Huntingdonshire, on Public Safety within the Town.

If you would like to attend or would like to send in a question in advance, please email town.council@huntingdontown.gov.uk for more information.

The council says this will allow councillors and officers “time to prepare the correct information.

“You are welcome to just attend on the night, however, please be aware that the councillors may not be able to answer in detail”.

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