Parish Precept Increase Explained

Published: 16 March 2021

As Council Tax demands drop on doormats, Billingshurst Parish Council thought it would be helpful to explain why its part of the bill has gone up.

Due the rapid expansion of the village in terms of new housing, the Council has responded by adding 31 hours per week to the Litter Warden Team which is responsible for keeping the village tidy. The hours of the existing two-person team will be increased and they will be joined by an additional third part-time member. A larger team will enable the Council to have the flexibility to litter pick high profile sites on Sundays and Bank Holidays which has been demanded by residents. The extra cost has been partly offset by taking in-house the cleaning of the public toilets in Mill Lane, for which we plan to provide an even more responsive cleaning regime.

The Billingshurst Centre is requiring increased financial support to balance its books. Whilst some progress had been made pre-COVID on reducing costs, and some COVID alleviation grants have been received, the Independent Examiner of the Centre accounts last year said that as Sole Managing Trustee of the Centre (a registered charity) the Council needed to consider how it would address continuing shortfalls. This coming year the Council has budgeted to increase its support from £2,000 to £22,000.

Whilst the Council seeks to fund (new) capital expenditure using CIL and S106 funds etc, replacement items cannot be funded in this way so easily. The Council is therefore ensuring that it will be well-poised to meet the cost of replacing the popular skate ramp at Jubilee fields, by budgeting accordingly. This facility is costing several thousand pounds every year to keep it fit to use, even though it has exceeded its lifespan.

The above are the headline items that account for this year’s increase in the council tax for Billingshurst Parish Council.

Overall the Council will be asking for an extra £35,454 to fund this program. This is 9.49% more than last year. Because there are more properties (largely due to house-building) than last year, the overall take is spread over more payers. Therefore, the extra per typical average Band D payer, is £6.22 or 6.97%.

As well as trying to provide additional services and facilities, the Council also has a considerable portfolio of land, play facilities and buildings etc it is responsible for, all of which need to be maintained and repaired. The Council may have been able to reduce the precept that local residents pay, however by doing so, it may have had to reduce some services or remove some facilities. Not only is the Council maintaining what it currently does, it is also improving the facilities and services it provides for a growing population.