Proposed spending by Uckfield Town Council in the next financial year has been pruned.
It will lead to the town’s portion of the council tax (band D) rising by about 6.5 per cent in the financial year 2016/17, reports Paul Watson.
Before last night’s meeting (December 7) of the full council, suggested increased spending would have increased the tax bill by around 15 per cent, as UckfieldNews.com reported last week.
The town council will set its budget and the amount of council tax it will precept for in the new year.
Councillors removed £73,000 of spending which had been put forward by council committees.
The axe fell on:
- £5,000 for a hard-standing to the Hempstead Road play area goal/basketball hoop
- £30,000 to start building a fund to extend the skatepark
- £3,000 of signs for dog control orders (£1,000 remains)
- £10,000 to build a maintenance fund for the newly repaired Old Timbers Lane
- £25,000 community support fund, which would have been used to support voluntary groups hit by cuts to county council funding.
Projects surviving the cull with budget estimates of costs:
- French twin town road signs – £6,000
- Renewal and updating interpretation boards at Boothland Wood and the local nature reserves – £3,200
- Repositioning the Rev Edward Cardale monument – £5,000
- Replacing street lights in Olives Meadow to county standard (and then ‘adopted by ESCC) – £17,100
- Topping up “earmarked reserves” by £4,000 for two new CCTV cameras, subject to satisfactory demonstrations – £4,000
- Adding to reserves for new play areas – £25,000
- Playground fencing – £5,000
- Victoria pavilion toilet (pay-as-you-enter) doors – £3,000
- Building maintenance programme – £49,400
- Weald Hall floor replacement – £10,000
- Luxford cold room replacement – £2,500
- Foresters Hall replacement soffits and fascias – £5,000
- Building a fund to pay for the 2019 town elections – £5,750
- Upgrading IT systems and equipment £2,500.
Members were clearly uncomfortable with a possible increase of 15 per cent in the band D council tax, which the original figures would have meant.
Although the first instalment on building a pot of money to extend the skatepark was removed, councillors agreed it was still an aspiration and remains part of the council’s business plan.
They were told the current CCTV system was not monitored but was used to “review” incidents reported to the police.
Assistant town clerk, Christine Wheatley, told the committee the police would decommission the whole system without the planned improvements.
The suggestion for having a £25,000 fund to help any town voluntary groups which suffered because of county council cuts to adult social care was removed.
Coucillors said help could be obtained from other sources, including the council’s existing grants scheme.