Angry residents in Southwater are infuriated over a massive increase in the village’s council tax - for the third year running.
Southwater Parish Council is increasing its share of the council tax for 2019 by 23.12 per cent. Last year it increased its share by 25 per cent and the previous year by 20.77 per cent.
Many residents have taken to social media to vent their anger over the latest increase. Some describe it as ‘a joke’ and ‘disgusting.’ Many criticise the parish council for running Southwater Leisure Cehtre at a financial loss.
In a ‘newsletter’ statement on its 2019/20 budget, Southwater Parish Council says: “The current financial year has seen unexpected expenditure with some of the larger incomes having not materialised. Some of these relate to major items,
but there are other smaller positive and negative figures which have all contributed to a strain on the council’s current year’s finances.”
The council says it lost around £93,000 on running the village leisure centre last year and is now looking at how it might be operated in future. It says, if it had not made the loss, the percentage rate increase this year would be just three per cent.
It says it has faces other increased bills, including spending on public open space, its ‘neighbourhood plan’ budget, the introduction of neighbourhood wardens, leisure centre roof repairs, and staff salary and pension costs.
Southwater Parish Council chairman Graham Watkins and the parish council have been approached for comment.