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Town council raises tax to support community services

RESIDENTS in Melksham will see their precept increase from April as the town council seeks to make up for cuts being made by Wiltshire Council.

Melksham Town Council met last month and agreed unanimously to raise its precept – the proportion of council tax paid to the town council – to £600,115 for the 2017/18 financial year.

This increase of approximately 39% means that the precept of a Band D property will be £115.49 per year, an increase of £20.40 per year or £1.70 per month over the £95.09 Band D precept charged last year.

Town clerk Steve Gray said, “This increase reflects the current economic climate which has seen Wiltshire Council declare its intention to withdraw from or reduce its delivery of a variety of community services given the lack of available funding.

“In setting its budget and precept requirement for the 2017/18 financial year, the town council has attempted to offset some of the effects of Wiltshire Council’s decisions that will impact upon our community and enhance the services provided.

“This includes £20,000 for additional street cleaning services; £10,000 to finance supplementary grass cutting in King George V Park and the cemetery where the frequency of grass cutting provided by Wiltshire Council is considered to be inadequate; £10,000 to repair and install new equipment in play areas within the town; an additional £5,000 for grants funding to support the work of community and voluntary groups; £3,000 to fund sporting activities for children during the summer holidays; and £3,600 to finance the care and maintenance of the town’s superb floral displays.

“In addition, the town council recognises that the Assembly Hall requires significant investment to enable its redevelopment as a valued community asset and resource located at the heart of the community it serves.  Recognising the key role it plays as part of the social and recreational fabric of the town by promoting and hosting an eclectic mix of events and activities, the town council has made provision to meet the future financial challenges associated with redeveloping the hall and thereby enhancing the social and recreational offer that it provides.

“The town council regrets the need to increase the council tax burden on local residents, but the revised precept seeks to ensure that it can meet the additional financial demands associated with this increased service provision and the redevelopment of the Assembly Hall, whilst remaining on a viable and sustainable footing that will ensure that it is able to operate effectively in the future.”

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