Battle Council raids reserves to freeze precept

BATTLE Town Council has announced it will freeze its precept for 2011-12.

Following news of cuts in central government funding to Rother District Council, as reported in last week’s Observer, it has been revealed that the element of the council tax raised by Battle Town Council (the precept) will not increase in the coming year.

Whilst the council’s total planned expenditure for next year will rise by about 4.7 per cent, this will partly be offset by ‘modest’ increases in fees and charges.

The council will also draw on its general reserves to meet some of the expenditure.

Council chairman David Hussey said: “Most of our expenditure relates to ongoing activities and the council’s first priority will continue to be to ensure that the standards we have achieved in providing local services and maintaining our open spaces, the recreation ground and the cemetery are not compromised.

“We are also conscious that as the owners of one of the towns most historic buildings, The Almonry, we should set an example by ensuring that it is properly cared for.

“But there will always be opportunities to make improvements and the council’s financial management in recent years has enabled us to put aside funds for both particular and general purposes.

“Specifically we know that some items of grounds maintenance equipment will soon need replacing and the reserves which we set aside for this purpose were drawn on this year to meet the cost of a replacement works vehicle.

“Next year we hope to receive a grant from the district council towards the cost of adapting the basketball court at the recreation ground for wider use including five-a-side football, and a grant from the Community Wildlife Fund to carry out work at Mansers Shaw which will enable walkers to continue to enjoy the area whilst at the same time protecting the natural environment particularly the flora.

“In both cases the council will be required to provide match funding and by being able to draw on general reserves we can seize such grant opportunities without increasing the precept.

“The council are committed to giving residents value for money and we believe that next year we will continue to do so despite the economic pressures.”