Zero council tax increase is gamble

It is unfortunate that Cllr. Bantick may not have understood when the District Councillors gave their Reports to Rye Town Council. His Rye View feature (7.2.12) gave misleading information regarding the community charge.

It is incorrect to state the alternative to Rother District Council accepting the Government’s offer of a one-off payment of £117k in order to freeze the council tax at the 2011/12 levels would have necessitated an increase by a substantial amount, as Cllr. Bantick states,. What was considered was a 3.5% increase, which is lower than the current inflation rate. In RDC’s financial report it was made clear that having lost £667k of Government funding that further savings of £43k in 2012/13 and a further £117k in 2013/14 will be required, in spite of injecting £1.4m from the Council reserves.

Whilst the nil increase of the community charge will, I am sure, be welcomed in these times of austerity, the consequences of the acceptance must be understood, one can only hope the gamble pays off and the mandatory services at least are protected.

Cllr Bantick also commented on the success achieved following the reopening of the Tilling Green School as a Community Centre. As a constant critic of the Rye Partnership perhaps he, and Democracy for Rye group of which he is a staunch member should also recognise the important role The Partnership played, alongside the Tilling Green Residents’ Association in such an achievement. No doubt he will have the opportunity to do so at the Annual Town Meeting held there on 7th March.

Cllr. Sam Souster

Rye Ward,

Rother District Council