Uckfield Town Council’s rise in council tax will be much smaller than originally thought.
Report by Paul Watson
Councillors last night (January 25) agreed a rise of 2.10 per cent which will see the Band D council tax for Uckfield alone rise to £149.74 from £146.66 in the current financial year.
The town council is only one part of the overall council tax bill, which also comprises demands from East Sussex county and Wealden district councils, Sussex Police and East Sussex Fire and Rescue.
More homes eases tax burden
A much higher increase for the town council was envisaged before Christmas but the figure is down because of a significant increase in the number of properties liable for council tax in Uckfield.
The December figure was based on the current estimated number of properties, 5,438, while the total for 2016/17 is set at 5,577.
The council agreed its council tax precept would be £866,366 in the financial year 2016/17 up from the current year’s total of £797,595.
Worry over major tax rise
It means the average band D council tax for Uckfield Town Council requirements alone will be £149.74 for the year. The current figure is £146.66.
Cllr Paul Sparks, Liberal Democrat, North Ward, said when councillors first considered the budget they were looking at a major tax rise.
He said: “We should not be looking at the town council precept in isolation.
“Clearly it only represents a small part of an Uckfield resident’s council tax bill.”
Cllr Helen Firth, Conservative, New Town, said it was “totally unreasonable” for the town council to keep putting up its precept.
“When you add all these rises in council tax together it comes out at quite a large amount. It is time we started looking in house to make cuts and start saving money, rather than spend it like it was water.”
Deputy town mayor, Cllr Duncan Bennett, Trust Independent, New Town, both East Sussex and Wealden councils had reduced services which people in the town “expect to be picked up by somebody”.
He believed people were “switched on” about how local taxation worked.
The elections last May, he said, showed people were prepared to pay a modest sum to receive the services that we would hope to provide.
“We will never be able to provide the level of service the higher authorities have in the past, perhaps but we can go some of the way to filling the gap which have been made by the unserstandable cuts higher up,” he said.
The 2.1 per cent council tax rise would keep the town council “on track” and showed people they cared and wanted a progessive council that provides things but also showed they were prudent.
Councillors present at the meeting were:
Mayor Cllr Louise Eastwood, Trust Independent, North Ward
Deputy Mayor Cllr Duncan Bennett, Trust Independent, New Town
Cllr James Anderson, Trust Independent, North
Cllr Mick Dean, Trust Independent, New Town
Cllr Keith Everett, Independent, Ridgewood
Cllr Helen Firth, Conservative, Central
Cllr Donna French, Trust Independent, North
Cllr Jackie Love, Trust Independent, North
Cllr Chris Macve, Trust Independent, North
Cllr Barry Mayhew, Liberal Democrat, New Town
Cllr Paul Meakin, Liberal Democrat, Central
Cllr Ian Smith, Independent, Ridgewood
Cllr Paul Sparks, Liberal Democrat, North
Cllr Diane Ward, Trust Independent, Central