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Precept frozen in this year’s council budget

Town mayor, Roger Andr�, happy to avoid increasing the precept
Town mayor, Roger Andr�, happy to avoid increasing the precept

The council tax precept will remain the same for another year after the draft budget for Haverhill town council was agreed at a meeting on Tuesday (January 27).

The precept for residents of band D properties will stay at £111.77 a year in 2015-16.

It is likely, however, that the precept will need to be increased in 2016-17 by about three to four per cent and again the following year by about two percent.

This is to allow for the gradual withdrawal of the Council Tax Support Grant which is being reduced over a period of four years by St Edmundsbury Borough Council.

This year, the town council had its tax support reduced by £32,000. According to Haverhill mayor, Councillor Roger André, the council compensated for this with savings from reductions in running costs and town council expenditure, which went from £236,593 in 2014-15, to £218,648 in 2015-16.

“No one in any party wants to increase the precept,” said Cllr André. “We have had to do some trimming. The most apparent savings will be from contracted costs, like photocopiers and office machines as well as general running costs.

“There have also been staffing costs reductions, meaning some council staff will do fewer hours and, at times, we’ll have less staff on duty.”

Cllr André also noted that the town council had, of late, taken on many duties that would traditionally have been the responsibility of the borough council, which was putting strain on resources.

He said: “Things like cutting hedges, cleaning and signs, we’re doing it ourselves because things aren’t getting done.”

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