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RESIDENTS in Melksham will see their precept increase from April as the town council set out plans to deliver services and make improvements to the town.
Melksham Town Council met this week and councillors agreed to raise its precept – the proportion of council tax which is paid to the town council – to £763,750 for the 2018/19 financial year.
This increase of 21.90% means that the precept of a Band D property will be £140.78 per year, an increase of £25.29 per year or 49p per week over the £115.49 Band D precept charged last year.
The rise comes as the council continues to cover cuts to services made by Wiltshire Council like grass cutting and the maintenance of play areas.
At the meeting held on Monday 15th January, Mayor, cllr Adrienne Westbrook, praised the budget saying, “The bottom-line figure is an increase of 49p a week for the next year. This will deliver most of the upgrades and service changes that council members have talked about since May.
“So we will be looking at: buying grass cutting equipment, the children’s play areas will be looked after with a weekly (grass) cut, the cemetery will also be cut weekly; the splash pad for King George V playing area can be installed; the next stage of the Assembly Hall refurbishment can take place; we can look at George Ward Country Park; we can employ a part-time engagement officer to coordinate voluntary groups and move the town team forward; more floral planting; increase street furniture; and the Remembrance Day event is coming up too.
“I commend this budget to you, it’s bold, it’s proactive and it puts Melksham in the best possible place to meet the challenges that we have got.”
The majority of councillors agreed with the mayor, highlighting that the budget will allow the council to fulfill a number of ambitions they have for the town.
Cllr Mike Sankey said, “I am pleased that there is a lot that this council wants to do in the coming year, not least the transfer of parks and play areas to this council and I think that this budget enables us to move forward and look after and maintain the parks for the residents of Melksham. So I think that it is crucial that we support this budget.”
Deputy Mayor, cllr Jon Hubbard said, “We have a budget this year that talks about turning aspirations into realities. And I think that this is really important. This budget will allow our team to install the civic pride to maintain areas like the cemetery and play areas and install the splash pad. This budget will reinforce that the town council are delivering for the residents.
“I hope that this whole council supports this budget as it sends a message to the whole of Melksham that this council means business.”
In agreement cllr Caroline Andrews said, “We are putting our money where are mouths are and are telling people that this is what we are going to be doing with the money from you, which I think is really powerful and compelling.”
Following the decision to support the budget, the council quickly got to work on one of their promises to deliver a grass cutting service for the cemetery and play areas in the town. A task and finish group was formed to progress the procurement of grass cutting equipment.
It was also agreed to continue the arrangement to supplement the grass cutting carried out by Wiltshire Council on large amenity areas like King George V Playing Field.