Council facing increased costs

3/2/10- The Almonry- Town Hall and Musuem- Battle
3/2/10- The Almonry- Town Hall and Musuem- Battle

Battle residents are facing a Council Tax increase of almost 10 percent this year.

Battle Town Council has announced it is raising its share of the Council Tax by 9.04 percent.

It rises from £86.20 to about £93.99 per household, an increase of just under 15p per week.

The Council says the increase is necessary in order to maintain the town.

The decision followed a lively full council debate at Battle Almonry.

Explaining the rise in the level of the precept, the chairman of the Council, Councillor Margaret Kiloh, said that although a number of committees had succeeded in keeping down planned expenditure in 2014-2015 there had been some hefty items of unplanned expenditure including drainage work at the cemetery and cricket ground, professional fees for various legal agreements, cemetery consultants’ fees and new litter bins.

As there was also a shortfall in projected income from bank interest, the cemetery and the allotments it would probably be necessary to dip into unallocated reserves to avoid a deficit on the budget.

The Council wanted to avoid a similar situation occurring in 2015 -16.

It was looking for alternative sources of income for some of its projects, such as the refurbishment of the Almonry and the cemetery chapel, but there were some unavoidable increases in expenditure for the next financial year, such as election costs, repayments on the cemetery extension loan and increases in rates.

It was also necessary to ensure the Council built up its equipment replacement reserve and maintained a cushion of unallocated funds to allow for contingencies.

At the meeting of Full Council on December 16th Deputy Chairman of the Council, Councillor David Furness, presented a report from the working group set up by the Council to consider plans for the refurbishment of the Almonry.

He explained that the plan was to seek funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to enable the refurbishment. The plan included joint public access to the Almonry and the Museum, thus providing an enhanced visitor experience at the north end of the High Street whilst at the same time improving the Council’s facilities.

Planning permission would be sought early in the New Year, with the hope that the project would be completed in time for the 2016 celebrations of the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings.