Precept for 2013/2014

Horley Town Council has announced that the Precept has been set for a total net figure of £283,890. This means that the town element included in the total Council Tax bill will be an annual sum of £33.95 for a band D household for the financial year commencing 1 April 2013. This represents an increase, significantly less than inflation, of 65p (1.95%) for the full year. This means the Horley tax element has risen by 4.2% over the last 6 years, averaging out at just 0.7% per annum.

The Town Council is supremely conscious of how it spends your money and is determined to fulfil its roles and add value to Horley. These roles include the maintenance of the Horley Recreation Ground and Memorial Gardens, as well as many other open spaces around Horley, the annual contribution to the maintenance of the Churchyards, repairs and inspections at five children’s playgrounds and the management of Court Lodge Football Grounds and Church Road Allotments.

The Council constantly reviews value for money. As would be expected, cost control is of the utmost importance, but we have also had to delay and cut back on new projects. We have also strived to ensure that our charges for the hire of allotments and football pitches, as far as possible, meet economic costs. Next year, however, and despite the financial pressures, we believe it appropriate to complete the path widening in the Horley Recreation Ground and make it accessible for wheelchair users etc. Regrettably our budgets also have to take into account not just vandalism costs, but also the significant costs of crime prevention such as security patrols, CCTV enhancement and maintenance, which have exceeded £10,000 in each of the last two years.

Not all has been doom and gloom. The Horley Jubilee Fun Day was a triumph and will be repeated in July this year as the Horley Carnival. Despite the financial climate our objective is to maintain the standard of flowers and plants in the town centre, to offer some cheer to residents and visitors, as well as trying to retain or improve our Silver Gilt status in the South & South East in Bloom competition. An additional football pitch has been marked out at Court Lodge Playing Fields, which will take some pressure off overused pitches and help meet early season demands.

We should not hide some of the difficulties we face. We are advised of the need to replace the aged skate park at Horley Recreation Ground. Such facilities do not come cheap, and funding is being researched. From the figures above it can be worked out that a 1% tax increase brings in about £3,000. There is an Edmonds Family legacy of £20,000 available which could go towards this. However the Council needs to be confident that this both meets the spirit of the legacy and that there are not more pressing requirements.

Finally, as a relatively new Councillor, I think I may be permitted to say that your volunteer Town Councillors spend many unpaid hours checking grounds, going through planning applications, and chasing up other authorities to try to make sure that Horley’s needs are being met.

Cllr Roy Sherwin, Chairman Finance & General Purposes Committee
22 January 2013

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