Council explains tax hike

Lintot Square, Southwater. Pic Steve Robards SR1722756 SUS-170916-085035001
Lintot Square, Southwater. Pic Steve Robards SR1722756 SUS-170916-085035001

A parish council has explained the reason behind a 25 per cent increase in its council tax.

Southwater Parish Council has taken the decision to increase its council tax for the 2018-19 finical year.

The council said it needed to raise £510,000 for the 2018-19 financial year and would be increasing the charge from £93.30 a year for Band D property to £117.00.

In a statement the council said it had made the decision to help with maintenance and upkeep and to also help fund a community wardens scheme.

Many Residents have expressed their outrage over the decision on social media.

Councillor Graham Watkins, said: “Having consulted residents in December 2017 on the need to raise further monies for both the upkeep and maintenance of Council owned public realm and buildings together with the issue of community wardens, it was the view of the Council that following the success of wardens at Ashington and Pulborough that Southwater’s community could benefit from such a scheme. This scheme, alongside the proposed building maintenance and improvements to the public realm would ensure that facilities in Southwater are maintained to a high standard.”

In total the increase for a Band D household will be 46p per week.

The council said it had used its reserves to support the budget in previous years to keep the council tax increases to 3-5 per cent.

The statement continues: “Southwater Parish Council is proud of the services it currently delivers, managing community buildings, and significant land holdings and keeps the village litter free.

“The parish council staffing levels remain consistent with that of other larger local authorities to meet the needs and deliver the community’s aspirations for the future.

“The team is working hard to deliver the community’s vision, develop a Neighbourhood Plan, enhance the community building provision and leisure facilities and are underway in relation to a complete review of the Southwater Leisure Centre. There will also be a focus on working more closely with the community and local businesses by improving the council’s website; this is due shortly.”

Councillor Watkins added: “Parish Councillors and Staff are committed to delivering the best service for Southwater residents who are welcome and encouraged to attend the council meetings which are publicised on the council’s website Once again our focus this year, will be on improving the much loved Christmas event and our use of social media to improve communications with our residents too.”