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Town Council sets Precept for 2009/2010

At the Full Council meeting of 9 December 2008, Horley Town Council approved its budget for 2009/2010 and set its Town Precept for a total net figure of £280,886 (compared to the net figure of £278,560 for 2008/09). Cllr Michael Miller, Chairman of the Town Council’s Finance & General Purposes Committee, explained that the town element of Council Tax would be £32.69 representing an annual increase of 10p per Band D household (+ 0.31 per cent).

Cllr Miller stated that: “The Town Council has recognised that these are difficult economic times and a thorough review of all the council’s costs and services had been conducted. This action has allowed the annual increase of the precept to be kept within modest levels. The increase of 0.31 per cent compares with the Annual Retail Prices Index (RPI) increase of 4.2% and the annual Consumer Price Index (CPI) of 4.5%, announced in November 2008.

The Town Council remains fully committed to maintaining all its services as well as pursuing its programme of enhancements as detailed in its Corporate Plan. These will include improvements to our recreation grounds, and further improvements to community halls Cllr Miller commented that the Town Council has made considerable effort to structure those projects, as outlined in the Plan, on continuous 3 year rolling programmes wherever possible. The relocation of the council offices from the former rented premises (adjacent to the old fire station) to redesigned freehold premises in the Albert Rooms has improved the council’s profile and has given the council increased income from lettings.

The Town Council will continue to support St Bartholomew’s two churchyards and will make a grant of £13,000 towards its grounds maintenance.

Prudent use of Council finances has allowed the Council to use £34,000 of its general reserves towards next year’s costs. The rebuilding of the Albert Rooms is now complete, apart from some minor enhancements. I am pleased to report that the work was completed within our financial estimates. Whilst the charges for some of our community facilities, such as the use of the Albert Rooms main hall, were not increased this year, the charges will be increased next year to take account of the improved facilities. There will also be differing scales for businesses and local organisations. Full details of all charges for 2009/10 will be announced shortly.

The Town Council also has a duty to provide for future likely expenditure. The Council is therefore increasing its earmarked funds by £19,000 for football pitches, buildings maintenance and community funds.

The Town Council has considered the need to improve security in its recreation grounds. We are therefore going to increase our budget for CCTV enhancements, which will be carried out in consultation with Surrey Police. There will continue to be a commitment for regular security patrols in all our parks to aid the safety of all members of public. The Council has made a provision for floral displays in the town centre in support of our proposed entry for South and South East in Bloom 2009, having already won two silver awards in 2008. Sponsorship from local businesses will also be sought.

This Council will also continue to seek funding from appropriate bodies. To date we are preparing a substantial bid to the Football Foundation for work on our football pitches at Court Lodge. Other funding has been generously offered from our local Borough and County Councillors’ Initiative Schemes for which the Town Council expresses its gratitude. In conclusion, in a challenging financial climate, Horley Town Council is committed to providing facilities that meets the communities needs, and in doing so, achieving them at best value.”

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