HOLBEACH PARISH COUNCIL: Rise of £31 in council tax share
Holbeach council tax payers will see the total amount they pay for services, including playing fields and cemeteries, rise by just £31 in 2018-19.
Parish councillors agreed a minimal precept increase of 0.02 per cent during their January meeting at Holbeach Methodist Church last Monday.
One of the briefs for council members in setting the budgets this year was to try and avoid an increase as our way of giving something back to parishioners
The council set its annual budget at just under £197,900, despite taking on grass-cutting duties formerly carried out by the county council.
Coun Paul Brighton, chairman of the parish council’s finance committee, said: “There have been some real pressures on the budget as the costs of maintaining the parish are rising all the time, especially as Holbeach town itself grows.
“One of the briefs for council members in setting the budgets this year was to try and avoid an increase as our way of giving something back to parishioners.
“Through the hard work of councillors and the parish office, we have brought the budget in by 0.02 per cent after highlighting ways of getting the best value for money.”
Each year, parish, district and county councils set a council tax rate for each home in their area.
Lincolnshire County Council has proposed a rise of between 3.95 and 4.95 per cent, including two per cent for a social care precept, for 2018-2019.
In contrast, Holbeach Parish Council believes that new housing across the area may result effectively in a reduction in the parish council’s share of council tax bills for households.
• Parish councillors and staff are to receive new IT equipment in the form of tablets at a total cost of about £4,600.
The tablets, to be used for parish council business only, are to comply with changing data protection laws which take effect on May 25.
They require all councils to strengthen their existing security measures and working practices, with Holbeach parish councillors agreeing that the best way to do this was through a new IT system and tablets to work from.
Coun Paul Brighton, chairman of the council’s data protection working party, said: “It is a difficult time for parish councils as the changes in law put more pressure on us to develop how we maintain the level of service people have come to expect.
“There were a number of options explored but the soaring costs around us made our decision to reach out to the local community through new tools more necessary and the tools used by councillors need to change as well.
“The tablets will allow parish councillors to access all their documents securely and in one place securely thus cutting down on the use of paper and allow councillors access to their new Facebook page.
• An exercise area for dogs at Carter’s Park is to stay after a survey showed public demand for it.
However, the “dog run” will be moved from its current location on what used to be grass tennis club courts.
Coun Paul Foyster, parish council vice chairman, said: “Following public consultation and comments made to councillors, we agreed to keep a dog run but to move it to another location within the park.
“This will allow us to make better use of the space and to avoid the high cost of refurbishing the existing run on the old grass tennis courts which will soon require extensive maintenance work.
“The new run will have one entrance direct from Park Road and another from the main park.”
• Provisional agreement has been reached for the relocation of allotments in Northons Lane as part of a planned redevelopment of the site after talks between parish councillors and Lincolnshire County Council.