THE Battle councillor who proposed a tax rise of nearly ten percent has explained why it is necessary.
The move came under fire with Battle Rother councillor Kevin Dixon describing it as “a disgrace”.
But Cllr Richard Jessop defended the council’s position this week claiming the increase was necessary to protect the town’s assets for future generations to enjoy.
He said: “The decision was not taken lightly. Four years ago, I produced a paper to the Finance and General Purposes Committee showing that certain assets of the town required monies spent on them to either bring them up to modern standards or to maintain them. This was accepted by the committee. However, little was done due to our concern on the level of increases which the council would need to seek from our residents.
“Last year, I produced a further more detailed paper showing how much money was needed to maintain the play equipment in our parks and to repair or maintain our buildings.
“The real cost to Band D residents is expected to be just 14p per week on top of the current level. That is just a third of the cost of most single cigarettes from a packet of 20 or a quarter of the cost of a weekday Daily Mail newspaper. I see that as reasonable
“The items that have been addressed are the extension of the cemetery, which the Council has to provide by law, the renewal of the council’s equipment storage facilities; the start of a maintenance and replacement fund for the play equipment in our recreation grounds; commencement of a fund to properly maintain our pavilion; to ensure proper and hygienic toilet are provided to the Marley Lane Chapel and in due course, to provide modern toilet and kitchen facilities in the Almonry. It is also to improve the ability of the council to maintain its estates generally.
“I am sure that all of our town’s councillors are proud of the facilities which the council provides for our residents – I believe that it is our duty to ensure that they do not deteriorate and, indeed, are fit for modern usage.”
Cllr Dixon said: “The increase is inflation-busting. It must be noted the Town Council also voted to add a £10,000 windfall payment from Rother, to their reserves, rather than use it to reduce the Council Tax increase.”