Council in Skegness vote for future security in 4.75% precept rise

East Lindsey District Council have agreed to pay for the demolition of the pavilion in Tower Gardens, Skegness. ANL-180115-162130001
East Lindsey District Council have agreed to pay for the demolition of the pavilion in Tower Gardens, Skegness. ANL-180115-162130001

Skegness Town Council has made the tough decision to ensure it is financially secure for the next four years by increasing its precept by 4.75 per cent.

Councillors were given four options at their meeting on Wednesday - a 4.7 per cent rise or 7p per week for a Band D property or less than 5p per week for a Band A; a 3.95 per cent increase; a 3.1 per cent increase; and 0 per cent increase.

The first option was to meet the cost of inflation, currently running at 3.1 per cent, and maintain its General Reserve at a level that is in accordance with good accounting practice and so that residents can have a degree of assurance about future level of increases in the precept.

Coun Steve Kirk commented: “We are teetering on the brink as we are now. We can’t afford to be a bankrupt council.”

Town clerk Steve Larner explained the budget for 2018-19, as agreed, includes both the cost of the amenity grass cutting service and the funding for the borrowing requirement for the new community building in Tower Gardens. Both of these have been managed within the existing budget due to the government increase in the tax base and by re-prioritisation of existing budgets, together with savings.

He said: “The council does not have to increase council tax to pay for grass cutting. It’s a piece of fictitious and malicious speculation on social media.

“The increase is to meet the cost of inflation, currently running at 3.1 per cent, to maintain its general reserve at a level that is in accordance with good accounting practice and so that residents can have a degree of assurance about future level of increases in the precept.

“The council anticipates that precept rises will be kept at 4.75 per cent for the next four years based on its current business plan.”

Since its meeting in December, Skegness Town Council has now commenced a full feasibility review of providing a new community building to replace the dilapidated Tower Pavilion in Tower Gardens.

It is hoped that consultation on designs will commence in late February or March.

Mr Larner said: “Architects have been briefed that there should be an option that reflects the original Victorian setting of the building and views that the building should be in keeping with the original pavilion.”

During the debate, Coun Steve Kirk reported that East Lindsey District Council had decided to make money available from their reserves to allow demolition of the pavilion.