Builth Wells tax hike due to uncertainty over services

Reporter:

Keri Trigg

The uncertain future of services provided by Powys County Council (PCC) has been cited as the reason for a hike in Builth Town Council’s precept for the next financial year.

At a meeting this week, councillors criticised PCC for “drip feeding” information and said the town council needs to have money available to take services on when the county council decides to hand them over.

At Monday evening’s budget meeting it was decided not to raise the precept, but concerned councillors raised the issue again at the full town council meeting on Tuesday.

Mayor, Cllr Meryl Prynne said: “What we do need to think of is a business plan for extenuating circumstances and guarantee that we have the resources.

“If we had a little pocket of money we could take it from there. It will give us peace of mind.”

Her stance was supported by other councillors, but some expressed concern that residents would not be happy to pay more council tax unless the council could say specifically what it was for.

Cllr David Ronicle said: “It’s a very difficult one. I understand the logic of raising the precept, but I think we would have to specify that business plan.

“Someone could say, ‘why am I getting a £5 increase?’”

Cllr Prynne also said Cllr Dennis Jones had stated he was against an increase and would oppose it if he could have been at the meeting.

Despite initial concerns, the nine councillors present voted unanimously to raise the precept to provide the town council with an extra £5,000. This means an increase of £4.70 for an average Band D property.

It is hoped this contingency money will safeguard services that PCC might decide to hand over to the town in the future.

Cllr Greg Thomas said: “We don’t know what’s coming next month, next year. Where is that money going to come from otherwise?”

Cllr Reardon added: “Last night I criticised Powys County Council in a sharp manner but I think it was justified. They have drip fed information over the years.

“What is going to be offered to us to look after next because they are no longer going to look after it?

“I think it would be folly for us to go forward without taking the opportunity to have something behind us for as and when Powys decides to offer the next piece of infrastructure to us.”

See full story in the County Times

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