The Town Mayor, Councillor David Haigh said:
‘The Town Councils precept is significantly less than the national average. There has been a substantial reduction in grant funding from Kirklees Council for 19/20 and we have therefore reluctantly taken the decision to increase the precept. The precept for Meltham Town Council is a tiny proportion of residents’ total council tax bill, with the majority of council tax going to Kirklees Council, the Police and Crime Commissioner and the fire and rescue authorities.
At a total cost of less than 86 pence per week for an average property, our services continue to represent value for money’.
There are several reasons why the Council took this decision
- Cuts to grant funding
Unfortunately Kirklees Council has significantly reduced the grant it provides to the Town Council from over £7,000 per year to mere hundreds of pounds and the Town Council needs to replace this funding in order to protect the services it provides.
- Protecting Meltham Services
As Kirklees Council cuts services, the Town Council is stepping in to protect and provide for the residents of Meltham – e.g. contributing to library services in Meltham and arranging for footpaths and public spaces to be cut back of vegetation and cleared of litter.
- Ensuring the Town Council’s future finances are on a firm footing
For many years the Town Council did not raise the precept, or the increases were below inflation. However, this is not sustainable indefinitely and ultimately reduces the money available for local projects. We have taken steps to reduce our expenditure where we can but taking this action now will ensure that the Council is in a stronger financial position and able to operate effectively on behalf of our community into the future as well as continuing to provide and improve the range of facilities and services to the community.
- Keeping Meltham Safe
The Town Council installed a CCTV system in Meltham which is regularly used by the police to gather evidence and which deters criminal and anti-social behaviour. Making Meltham a safer place to live is a priority for the Council – but this important service requires continued investment.
Improving our area
The Council is setting aside monies for improvements to the Town Centre to ensure Meltham is an attractive and safe place to live, work and visit. We continue to make significant grants to community groups in Meltham and are planning a number of improvements to further enhance Robert Ashton Memorial Park over the coming years.
Meltham Town Council’s service provision includes: allotments, litter picking and environmental improvements, children’s play areas, park facilities and maintenance, playing fields and gardens, public toilets, and sports facilities. It subsidises the library to protect this provision and makes substantial grants to Meltham organisations to support community led activities.
The Town Council receives no grant assistance from central government, and therefore has to be financially self-supporting. In addition to the Council Tax precept the Town Council’s only other sources of income is a small amount from allotment rentals and investment income.