Battle Council in Council Tax hike

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BATTLE Council Tax payers will be paying six per cent more towards the cost of their town council this year.

At a meeting on Tuesday evening, Battle Town Council voted to set a Council Tax figure of £199,820 for 2013/2014.

This is up from the £187,770 precept set for the year 2012/2013.

The tax – or precept – represents a small proportion of the overall Council Tax bill collected by Rother District Council.

The money is used to maintain services under the town council’s control, including the town’s allotments, cemetery and street lighting.

The issue had previously been debated at the council’s Finance and General Purposes Committee.

Cllrs Clive Bishop and Ron Harris made it clear they would not support a precept figure beyond £200,000.

But Cllr Marie-Louise Neill warned councillors against setting the precept too low.

The council fears that if the figure is set too low, this could backfire if town and parish councils become subject to ‘capping’ arrangements in the future.

Council chairman Richard Bye said: “There was a point made that because of the possible capping it would be a good idea to start at the high level.”

Savings on street lighting energy costs and a small saving on the cost of the cemetery groundwater audit would release part of the budget.

These savings could be relocated to a ‘repair and replacement’ fund and be put towards replacing equipment.