Press Release: Horley Town Council - Precept for 2022/23
Horley Town Council's Precept for 2022/23 was approved at the Full Council Meeting held on 14 December 2021 and the Chairman of the Finance & General Purposes Committee gave the following commentary:
On behalf of Horley Town Council, I would like to announce that the Precept for 2022/2023 has been set at a total net figure of £464,794. This means that the Town element of Council Tax will be an average annual amount of £43.17 per household, representing an annual increase of £1.66 per Band D property (+ 4%). This figure is below last year’s Surrey average of £47.81 for Town and Parish Councils and well below the National Average figure which last year was £71.86.
The Precept is the element of Council Tax which is raised and spent by a local government authority to cover its administration. The Town Council is steadfast it its approach to delivering all its services to Horley residents in addition to carrying out its statutory functions and responsibilities.
Despite the ongoing complications of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Town Council remains adaptable with a firm ‘business as usual’ approach to its operations whilst complying with the latest Government guidelines to help prevent the spread of the virus and to ultimately help keep everyone safe. This has necessitated a number of changes for Councillors and Staff in the way we work. For example, the introduction of a hybrid formation for our public meetings to facilitate remote attendance by residents and ensuring that in-person numbers are kept limited. We aim to keep the Town Council open to residents and visitors in line with public health guidance with regular updates being provided whenever changes become necessary. In these uncertain times, we will continue to be responsive to electronic or verbal communications as an alternative option to visiting the Council offices and we will always be pleased to assist.
It has been a testing time over the past year with a significant loss of rental income and increased costs during the pandemic. However, the Town Council remains in a sound financial position and has benefited from relief passed from central government to principal authorities in the form of recovery grants. We have adopted an ‘Investment Strategy’ as part of our commitment to manage our finances appropriately and careful budget monitoring with a pragmatic approach has kept us well on track so we can look forward to the future with much positivity.
We are a forward-thinking, ambitious Council and will continue to seek to support the Horley community through worthwhile projects identified in our strategic Town Plan, including enhancements to our parks and community buildings as well as public safety measures. Other considerations will be ongoing environmental activities in line with our pledge to tackle climate change through a variety of eco-friendly initiatives. For example, highlighting the importance to reduce, reuse, recycle and improving air quality through less fuel usage and supporting walking and cycling infrastructure plans. Another is getting involved in local community schemes, such as, tree planting to help diminish adverse impacts of climate change and raise more awareness on the importance to do everything possible to protect our planet. We always value input and feedback from residents on such matters through our usual communication links, social media platforms and other forms of public engagement. An online Residents’ Survey which we ran earlier in the year will help us to consider ideas put forward for smaller community projects that might be covered through our Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Fund so that these may potentially lead to fruition.
We are delighted that the new Café Pavilion has brought so much positivity and enjoyment at Horley Recreation Ground along with the refurbished tennis courts and extended car park. We aim to build on the many popular recreational facilities provided and to implement upgrades at other parks and outdoor spaces under the Council’s control. We actively seek to facilitate local community initiatives to promote good health and wellbeing, such as, supporting the provision of free tennis coaching sessions along with similar opportunities to provide outdoor activities that may be put in place from time to time with other local authorities.
The Town Council is fortunate to have the advantage of collaborative working with the principal authorities to achieve a common purpose and influence decisions. Such partnership working through a set operating framework enables the Town Council to play a dominate role in local service delivery and help shape our town. This has been demonstrated recently through the ‘Delivering Change’ refurbishment programme in Horley Town Centre, now underway, along with emerging plans for future investment. We will always ensure to represent the views of residents, businesses and community groups through such important stakeholder engagement to help inform the new vision for the regeneration of Horley.
Additionally, the Town Council will continue to support St Bartholomew’s New Churchyard and has made provision for a sum of up to £6,550 towards its grounds’ maintenance budget, subject to the approval of a grant application from the Church. Furthermore, the Council Grant Scheme is in place to support small local charitable projects which we hope will be of benefit along the road to recovery from the pandemic.
Community safety and crime prevention always remains high on our list of priorities with upgraded CCTV now running at Horley Recreation Ground and Court Lodge Fields. We will also continue to implement frequent security patrols in all our parks for extra security and public safety.
The Council is delighted to provide superb floral displays around the town for the benefit of residents and visitors. We are grateful for the continued support from County Councillors for impressive flower planters at Horley Row and Court Lodge together along with other recreational provision in the community, through their Member Allocation Fund. We also extend a note of thanks to Reigate & Banstead Borough Council for supplying two new attractive planters through government funding which are now taking pride of place in the High Street Precinct. We are similarly grateful to the many local groups and businesses who give their support in the community through sponsorship. The Horley in Bloom Competitions will continue free of charge to enter for local residents and the Town Council will provide the Christmas Tree for the Town Centre, as in previous years.
The Town Council will continue to seek funding from appropriate bodies and additionally has earmarked funds for ongoing grounds and playground improvements along with other future projects. Detailed information on the budget will be made available on our website or from the Town Council offices. We remain fully committed in the delivery of our services and taking every opportunity to make a difference with a key focus on what matters most to Horley residents.
I would like to invite all Horley residents to sign up to our free monthly eNewsletter from the home page of our website to be kept regularly informed about Horley Town Council’s business and community activities. Communication and proactive engagement within the community is very important to us and we have developed a strong presence on various social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with a high rating of followers as we aim to be as accessible as possible to the community we serve.