Precept 2019/20

Published: 17 January 2019

PRECEPT STATEMENT FOR 2019/20

Axminster Town Council has decided its precept for the coming year will be £244,558.60. This represents an increase of 12.45% and means that a Band D property will pay £88.51 per annum, an increase of £11.02 or 21 pence per week on the current year.

We feel that is important to communicate with our residents why this increase is necessary.

Over the past 9 years local authorities such as East Devon District Council and Devon County Council have seen their central Government funding fall by 58%. This is likely to continue into the coming year. The result is that such authorities are only able now to do what they are required to do in law, and in some cases are not even able to do that. This has meant that the burden for many services has had to be taken up by Parish and Town Councils in order to maintain and improve the lives of their citizens.

Axminster Town Council has over the past few years taken on more responsibilities. For example, we now provide the majority of floral decorations in the town, and these have been well received, and we are able to provide good value thanks to our small band of volunteers to plant them out and care for them during the year, especially watering during the summer.

We also provide financial support to the Youth Club, the Job Club and The Project, which provides mentoring for young people with mental health issues, a vital issue in our current society. In addition, our Flood Resilience Team, Snow Wardens and Pothole Crew, all volunteers, are funded by the Town Council for equipment and supplies.

We believe that making the town look good is essential for civic pride, the well-being of our citizens and to encourage new businesses in the town, particularly retail.

There have been many complaints both at Town Council meetings and to individual Councillors about the state of our verges. At the moment, DCC only cuts where there is a safety issue for drivers' visibility or pedestrians. The vast majority of the increase in our precept is pursuant to our decision earlier in the year to employ a Lengthsman so that we as a council can keep our town centre verges clear throughout the year, particularly during the Summer. It will also require us to purchase some new equipment and a vehicle.

How the town looks is vital for its continuing success. The George Hotel is looking better every day, and we need to do our bit to ensure the vitality of the Town.

We are also in this current year, and in future years making some major improvements to the Guildhall, to ensure it remains one of East Devon premier venues and a proper amenity for the town. This will include new carpeting, new stage curtains, new internal sliding doors and repairs to the backstage ceiling soon, with a new ceiling, loft space work and extraction amongst other things in coming years. This will be funded by our reserves.

We believe that the increase in our precept is necessary for the town, and if you have any comments or questions, please do not hesitate to contact me directly, or raise the matter during Town Forum at our Monthly Town Council meetings. Please also note that in May there will be elections for a new Town Council. I strongly encourage anyone who is interested in the future of Axminster to consider being a candidate. We do not divide along partisan lines, and you do not have to be a member of a Party to stand.

Cllr. Jeremy Walden

Axminster Town Mayor