Precept for 2011/2012

On behalf of the Town Council I would like to announce that the Precept has been set for a total net figure of £287,361. This means that town element of Council Tax will be unchanged at £32.80 per Band D household.

This zero per cent increase compares with the annual Consumer Price Index (CPI) of 3.2%, as announced in October 2010. The Town Council has recognised that everyone continues to experience difficult economic times and that the council has a responsibility to keep its precept as low as realistically possible. For the past two years the rate of increase has been kept well below inflation levels, with an increase of 0.34% in 2009 and 0.31% in 2010. This has been achieved by prudent use of ireserves and careful monitoring of finances.

I stress that the Town Council remains fully committed to maintaining all its services as well as pursuing its programme of enhancements, as detailed in the 5 year Corporate Plan. The agency agreement with Reigate & Banstead Borough Council for the provision of grounds maintenance services until March 2015 for the remainder of Horley’s recreation grounds will deliver an enhanced level of service at no extra cost to the tax payer. I would like to state that the Town Council has made considerable effort, wherever possible, to structure all major projects on continuous rolling programmes. Despite losing an after school club, the Edmonds Community Hall in the Albert Rooms continues to attract new hirers and has sustained its income stream from regular lettings.

The Town Council will continue to support St Bartholomew’s two churchyards and will make a grant of £13,500 towards their grounds maintenance.

Careful use of finances has allowed the Council to use £37,000 of its general reserves towards next year’s costs. As hire charges were increased last year to take account of the improved facilities in the Edmonds Community Hall, there will be only modest increases next year. Full details of all charges for 2011/12 will be announced in the New Year.

The Town Council also has a duty to provide for future likely expenditure. The Council will therefore increase its earmarked funds by £10,000 for buildings maintenance and playgrounds improvements. The cost of local elections in May 2011 will be met by using earmarked reserves which have been built up in the past 4 years.

The Town Council will continue to improve security in its recreation grounds. Therefore a provision has been made for further CCTV enhancements to be carried out in consultation with Surrey Police. Our commitment for regular security patrols in all parks to aid the safety of all members of public will be maintained.

A small provision will be made for floral displays to enhance the town centre for the benefit of residents and in support of our planned entry into South and South East in Bloom 2011, having already won awards in the past three years. We will do our utmost to seek sponsorship for this from local businesses, as we have successfully done in previous years, but we naturally recognise that these are challenging economic times.

This Council will continue to seek funding from appropriate bodies. We are extremely grateful to those Borough Cllrs who have used their Community Awards Scheme to provide generous funding for Town Council initiatives in previous years.

In conclusion, in a challenging financial climate, Horley Town Council is committed to continuing to provide and enhance facilities that meet the community’s needs, and in doing so, achieving them at best value and at minimal cost to the public.

Cllr Dr Richard Olliver, Chairman Finance & General Purposes Committee
14 December 2010

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