Call to re-think council budget

PUBLISHED: 14:44 25 October 2007 | UPDATED: 15:17 12 May 2010

Cllr Paul Grimes

Cllr Paul Grimes

CUTS to next year s Royston Town Council budget are to be examined over the next weeks. Members will be looking at a reduction in spending in a bid to keep down next year s increase in the precept. Figures produced in a draft budget to the council s Finan

Cllr Robert Smith

CUTS to next year's Royston Town Council budget are to be examined over the next weeks.

Members will be looking at a reduction in spending in a bid to keep down next year's increase in the precept.

Figures produced in a draft budget to the council's Finance committee on Monday evening showed that more than £244,000 would be spent next year.

This, however, is reduced due to an estimated income of £63,758 over the 12 months.

In percentage terms the increase would be between 3.9 per cent to 6.4 per cent on in cash terms a rise of £1.09 to £1.82-a-year for each household on a Band D property.

But Cllr Rod Kennedy told the committee: "We should trim our expenditure and not raise our income."

He said residents should not be placed in a position where it appeared they were "paying more and more for less and less".

"I believe there are ways of keeping our costs lower," he said.

He said that keeping 50 per cent of the council's cash in reserves was "mathematical nonsense".

And Cllr Paul Grimes said such an approach would see "an endless cycle of raising taxes".

He said residents would be paying more so that councillors had "a peace of mind" in the knowledge that there was money in the council's reserves.

He said that the budget needed to be challenged.

Cllr Robert Smith suggested, too, that the council should produce a business plan for a four-year period rather than come anew each year to the budget.

"We have to justify an increase in the precept," he said.

The draft budget showed that the council still has £205,488 from the sale of Stamford Yard.

But this money is ring-fenced for community projects and under legislation cannot be used to prevent any increase in next year's precept.

Members will report any potential savings in the budget over the next month and a second draft budget will be considered by the committee in December.

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