Chapel Parish Council freezes tax charge

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Chapel St Leonards residents will not be facing higher Council Tax bills from the parish council in 2015/16.

Councillors voted not to increase the contribution from Council Tax payers towards towards the budget in the next financial year.

The cost freeze is despite a 32 per cent reduction in Council Tax Support Grant, the contribution received from East Lindsey District Council to support the provision of services. The council’s support grant has been almost halved in two years and now stands at £8,200.

But thanks to recent negotiations with Lincolnshire County Council over rent to be paid for the land for the proposed Coastal Observatory at Chapel Point, the parish council has managed to balance the books for the third year running without levying any increase on residents.

Parish council chairman Mel Turton-Leivers said: “We were conscious of the likelihood of further grant reductions when we negotiated the deal with the county council and negotiated very hard to secure a good deal for our community. Even so, we are staggered by the scale of the reduction. We have had to look long and hard at the way we provide our services.”

The rent for the land at Chapel Point amounts to £13,500 per annum and helped the parish council to improve services, including the employment of a part-time community warden to reduce anti-social behaviour such as littering, vandalism and dog fouling. But the reduction in the grant will still threaten some of the services such as free public toilets.

Coun Turton-Leivers added: “Undoubtedly, the council will face some very difficult decisions in the next twelve months and will not be able to please everyone, But the Council’s main concern was to minimise the financial contribution made by our residents. Regrettably, we have not been able to reduce this as we had planned to do, but at least it will not be necessary to increase it.”

The annual contribution for a band D property in the village will remain at £52.23, the level set in 2013/14.

The council set its precept for 2015/16 at £59,228 at a special meeting in January.