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Welshpool ‘never been more democratic and transparent’

 
Created on 23/04/2018 @ 07:27
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As householders from across the area dig deeper to pay for increased precepts on their council tax from Powys County Council, Welshpool Town Council and Dyfed-Powys Police, the town’s civic leaders have told residents that the town is in good shape as it prepares for tough challenges ahead.

On average, householders in Welshpool will have to cough up nearly £100 more every year from this month (based on a Band D property), and in an exclusive interview with MyWelshpool, the Mayor and Town Clerk have said that they were left with no choice but to impose the increase to protect the town’s services following financial challenges that have impacted what the county council can deliver.

“There are tough challenges for every town and community in Powys, but I strongly believe that Welshpool is solidly positioned to cope with the continuing cuts that we all face,” said Mayor, Cllr Stephen Kaye.

“Raising our share of the council tax by £26 a year was a decision not taken lightly. We listened to residents who have told us in our town surveys that they want to see certain services like street cleaning, toilets and day centres retained so we have taken those on from Powys who are going to stop delivering them. We want to ensure that we are providing the very best for the people of Welshpool, but it comes at an increased cost unfortunately.

“We will continue to listen to the residents and act on what they are telling us. Welshpool has never been more democratic and transparent. People can influence what we are doing and can follow our progress whilst also seeing where every single penny of their council tax is being spent by the town council.”

Welshpool’s annual budget is now up to around £1.2 million, and while householders have footed some of the increase, Town Clerk, Robert Robinson, highlighted that there have also been some prudent financial investments made to ease the burden on the tax payer.

“As the financial challenges have increased for the council, we have made some shrewd decisions that will ensure we can meet future challenges. Shares have been bought and sold at the right time and then the money reinvested; Assets have been sold and the money invested for better returns, and parcels of Burgess Lands have also been sold recently to ensure we increase the annual revenue streams, making us less reliant on the council tax which funds about a third of our budget.

“We work to a five-year plan so we try to foresee what challenges we may face well ahead of time. Unfortunately, we can only expect more services and financial support from Powys to be cut so we need to be ready.”

Mr. Robinson said he predicts Welshpool’s share of the council tax bill to steadily increase (approximately 5% year-on-year according to their five-year forecasts), but not by the large chunk it jumped this year.

The five-year projections are available on the town council’s web site, and it shows that the services adopted from Powys will cost us more, once Powys ends its support.

One example is the Day Centre which currently costs £151,535 to run but brings in £134,200 in revenue (a deficit of £17,335). However, by 2023, the facility is expected to cost the town £165,544 but only bring in £110,200 (a deficit of £55,344).

 

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