Precept increase blocked by community leaders in Saltney

Published date: 20 January 2014 |
Published by: Romilly Scragg 
Read more articles by Romilly Scragg  Email reporter


A proposed increase in the precept charge residents pay for their town council has been rejected.

Members of Saltney Town Council took the decision not to increase next year’s precept, included as part of the council tax bill.

Councillors considered reducing the amount allocated for play areas as a means of saving the cash and suggested maintenance needed was the responsibility of the county council.

Figures for the town council’s 2014-15 draft budget, which included extra money to fund summer activities at the youth centre, would have meant an increase of £1.78 on each resident’s bill.

But Cllr Terry Walker suggested money could be found elsewhere.

“There’s people working hard to make ends meet,” he said.

“You’re only talking about one per cent but it’s still an increase.”

Cllr Walker said the £10,000 allocated for play equipment in the hope of receiving match-funding from Flintshire was unnecessarily high in the current financial climate.

“I’m suggesting we trim back and cut down and do maintenance only to our play equipment and show the residents of Saltney we can be economical,” he said.

But Cllr Veronica Gay voiced concerns Saltney risked becoming “absolutely barren”.

She said all non-essential services were under threat of losing county council funding with millions of pounds of cuts needed.

“Play areas could go by the board because they are non-statutory,” she said.

But Cllr Walker said he was not suggesting the play areas be left uncared for.

“I’m talking about new equipment,” he said.

“In my eyes it’s an amazing amount we’ve got. We’re very well off for play equipment.”

Town clerk Alan Thorniley said, while the county council was responsible for insuring and maintaining the play areas, a Flintshire Council survey had shown a Saltney play area was designated ‘amber’ which meant it needed upgrading.

He suggested if money was not spent, the town council was laying itself open to criticism.

But Cllr Walker said: “If they are responsible for maintenance, how is it they’ve let it get into amber state?

“Maybe we shouldn’t have to be shelling out for maintenance.”

Members agreed to Cllr Lloyd’s proposal to reduce the budget for play equipment by enough to keep the precept at current levels.

They also agreed to a suggestion by Cllr Walker to approach the county council regarding their responsibility for maintainance.

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